was a poet of silk and the shredding of silk.
No earthling nor deity remained
immune from his probing questions.
When the academy turned its head for a
he slipped an enlightened humor worm into the gut of poetry
that hasn't yet wriggled its way out.
With fountain pen tears he mourned the
nationalism of the nation
as he hosannahed the home run.
He fooled death, coaxing it into the soup of
time but for one.
Writing in Many Have Fallen about American
by Army into radioactive bomb blasts
Gregory wrote: All survived / ...until
two decades later
when the dead finally died--
a last line of stunning
poetry enough to make the top
Emily D's head pop off.
In 1983, Andy Clausen brought him to carouse
New Brunswick bars.
We stopped first at my kitchen table electric typewriter,
pulled his pocket notebook
and tapped out a piece for Long Shot magazine.
The poem was called Delacroix Mural at St. Suplice.
typing, Gregory stopped & asked
thought I of his last three pencil'd lines.
I eyed his notebook, said I liked
'em but not as much
the rest of the poem.
I thought he might write three new ones on the spot--
but instead he stood up, waved his left hand suavely
& declared the poem
done at what'd been
I know the ways of god / by god!.
knew how to end / at the ending.
I had the chance to read him Ode
to the West Wind
his cancer bed:
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
approaching mortality's last breath in summer,
arose to see another new year.
Now, I hear his ashes will be buried in Rome's
a neighbor of Shelley & the one whose name is writ in water.
Getting to the Poem, Gregory ended:
I will live / and never
know my death.
Who can say whether he was aware of that golden moment
breath says no?--
but he damn sure got to the poems.
Gregory knew your secret name,
he knew your habits, your weapons, your games--
now give his verse the life it deserves
do what you will with his gilgamesh hair