Edward M. Stringham Copied in Pencil


Before when he had the Palmer hand
but better: palm trees—light-lined
pencils' curving & flowing, for years,
for thinking remembering-body
Cavafy, self-mnemonic Bacchus or Eos,
Simplicissimus and Orpheo;
for copying out Zitronen bluhn, lemons
blooming-Goethe envisioning southland;
also for having chosen having chosen.

"It's when he began wearing saffron robes
that I started crossing the street to avoid him,"
saying. Whereas the silvery pencil's continuing
years of reading Russia, birches' vodka,
olivey Greece, Czechoslovakia—bells, lightness
of being. He gathered his notes, remembering:
Words & tables & charts—rapt & attentive.
Not rendered out in full, inescapably clear

His laugh out loud in the world like an outcry
or not; private. Only the end just barely obeyed
a logic, starved for lemon trees; was not eased.
He was remembering tiramisiù, galaktobouriko,
ice creams, unworldly candies.

"I've been having existential thoughts," he said:
how to proceed in the world, a worldly place,
ignoring, like dreading not having, money; how
after risking loss to feast on not having being.