Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Blues for Bill At LaGuardia

"I know. You're like "Poetry? Eeow." But how can you not like a guy who said "life is fun when you're good at something good."? Catch Astorian poet Stephen Cramer, and other former students and colleagues of Bill Matthews's reading tonight at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, right in Long Island City. They'll be toasting to Bill.

Here's some more Cramer (& Bill):

Before You
by Stephen Cramer

(For William Matthews, 1942-1997)

How like you, Bill, in the end.
Always the first to explore
whatever hip news chanced

our way-—the Sanskrit root
of chutney, that backup
bassist with all the right

runs. I bet you were always
quick to stake out
a dive, order a drink.

If you were here,
you'’d probably hint
what I'’m trying to say

is a bit too much like wine
made from pictures of grapes.
But that last season

I took before you a project
I'’d started then stalled on
& you said this:

take all your doubts,
draw a circle around them
& give them the finger.

Then you flicked your own finger
from your fist & aimed it
at an imaginary heap

of doubts. So I'’m just going
to say it. We miss you.
We miss the sheer velocity

of your presence.
Bill, you beat us out again.
I just thought for once

you'’d let someone else
get there before you.

See you there!
- Joey