In Praise of OLD Friends

October 16, 2006 at 11:08 pm 2 comments

brodsky.jpg
Pilgrims walk the earth
Crippled they are, hump-backed;
Hungry, half-dressed;
In their eyes, a waning;
In their hearts—a dawning.

—From Joseph Brodsky’s “Pilgrims”
skunitz.jpg

And from Stanley Kunitz, RIP. Died from a full life…at 100…

The Layers

[excerpt]

Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!

“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”

I am not done with my changes.

*

Dear ones, have you met an old friend lately? One from your tribe – albeit of a different generation?

Miss B implores you to explore a glorious grey-zone: Pal-dom in the Ben-Gay aisle. Just when you think you’re unique, your struggles unparalleled in the great expanse of history, your dreams silly and unrequited, enter the oldie-goodies.

If you lift your weary head from the navel and notice, you’ll find fabulous oldsters who are treasures incarnate.

nikolai.jpg

Nikolai Dronnikov sketches poets in Paris – when he’s not making sketchy glances at nubile tourists.

barkins.jpg

Stanley & Bebe Barkan: Long Island Bohemians. He, a publisher of ink-stained wretches; she, a painter of their portraits.

sasha.jpg

Sasha Yeryomenko, reading in his Moscow garret. And sharing evil Russian meat-products with we groupies.

viktor.jpg

Acclaimed thespian Viktor Persik makes me all teary-eyed when he performs. Nevermind I know only 15 words in Russian. Emote? Hah. He makes fire and smoke from mere lines.

slavalyon.jpg

Like to call this one “After & Before.” Slava Lyon and Aleksey Dayen in a Muscovite taxi.

Poets. Ruddy-faced drinkers. Lovers of women and other words for life.

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