I was shocked to learn a couple of days ago that Jack Wiler is dead. I met him twice, at poetry events in the city, and both times enjoyed his reading very much. He read in the same way as he talked. The poems are of a piece with the life. He exterminated pests for a living. After he read my book I sent him, he asked if he could do anything for me. It was a generous gesture. That Facebook exchange took place less than a month ago. Jack was tall, and, though gaunt, looked strong. He was fifty-nine.
Death and birth. Joe Fritsch, whom I also met at Cornelia Street Cafe, has started a blog. He is twenty-one, and has just moved into the city. I wish I am twenty-one. His poems are already crafty and poignant. But more, I recognized in him my restless ambition to make something of myself, to reach for whatever is swifter, higher, stronger (Baron Pierre de Coubertin). Perhaps I am projecting. Perhaps all my relationships are always about me.
Shall I see Jack's death through Joe's eyes--sympathetic, engrossing but finally uncomprehending? Or shall I look at Joe as if I am dead Jack? What the fuck, Joe, would you want to start a blog for, when we are all going to die? Do I have a choice, whether to be Joe or Jack today? Or will the weather decide for me?