Here’s To You, Grace Paley

I came across a note from Nelly Kravitz the other day.
It came unbidden, not in its place.
Now what could Nelly Kravitz have ever known about Sue,
when Sue was young and hopeful still?
Before she became nerve-wracking Sara,
working mom, and elfin pack of dark hair, red lips,
who loved jitter-bugging before she turned bitter
and Baudelaire thereafter.
Nelly Kravitz from Detroit—they were college friends—
who met Sue again at a Grace Paley lecture.
Nelly Kravitz from Detroit, who was in Philly
between the end of June and mid-July
in the Year of Their Lord 2000, or 5761 since the Creation.
Nelly Kravitz who wrote notes plump with fear
that another piece of life had fallen, like flakes
of paint from walls begging for whitewash,
to become new again.
Nelly Kravitz who lived—once upon a time
and here’s to your memory if you are no longer with us—
at 9106 White Hall St.
In Detroit (did I tell you that?).
An address label on the envelope to tell me so
and an artful stamp bought
to adorn notes to far-flung friends—
because a late husband from a distant town
pried her from her roots.
That ‘s America, folks.
And now she wondered where have all the flowers gone
on Humane Society note-paper,
with a photo of three golden-eared beagles,
and a Wildlife Land Trust sticker on the other side,
with koala bears on a eucalyptus tree.
Nelly Kravitz loved animals.
With a phone number—313-567-2378–
would she answer after all these years?
Thank you, Nelly Kravitz, for coming out again.
Here’s to our joy at our one last meeting.
and that we were still alive that day
when Grace Paley—may she too rest in peace—spoke at the Y.

Lenore Rosenberg

5 Responses to “Here’s To You, Grace Paley”

  1. 1 Borja December 2, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    That´s swing baby. That´s swing.

  2. 2 Lenore December 2, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Oh yeah, baby. Thanks!

  3. 3 melina December 2, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    yeah i’d say that’s pretty damn good!
    will need enlightning though
    good thing it’s easy to get!

  4. 4 uspoetsabroad December 3, 2007 at 8:22 am

    OK now we’re getting somewhere. Read and comment!

  5. 5 Borja December 7, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    You should see my records collection… I know what swing is baby, I do know it.

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Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."


December 2007
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