For Ted Joans

Steve Dalachinsky
June 2015

tedjoanscollagefrom All of Ted Joans and No More, Excelsior Press, NY, 1961

Le Corbeau et Le Courbet – for Ted Joans
(written at Café Le Roquet – Paris 1/30/06)

today the light is so bright
diffused light tracing det snoaj
like a backward shadow
@ the origin of the world
memoir of a pr. of bronze balls
too cold to fuck along the insane river
where the rhino dwells / or say hello Mr. Joans
as the sun writes these shadows on my page
facing his face privately @ Le Rouquet
where all’s o.k.
& the madame you spoke of in your pomes
still receives the l’addition
as i subtract nuage your hand wrote each
curlicued exquisite corps/e
(dis arm me o’ poesie accrued)
while the bogus suggest how others should play with form & order
on Rodin’s aching back

( B a l l s AK )

the 2 young femoiselles actually ask if we mind if they smoke
i say “yes but it is not against the law here”
wishing now we sat with your NO SMOKING sign
to shove into their pretty faces
as they proceed to pollute their lungs & ours
as we sweat on the opposite side from where you sat every day
as my overpriced café creme arrives

Mr. Sun begins to move behind the blding across the street
as Mr. Slick & the politicians shove their dicks into the mouths
of the people & i wrap my mouth around my omelette parmantier
& Mr. Sun disappears as you would
leaving its reflection behind as you would
leaving its mark on the street as you would
spreading its soft lyrical light
here on St. Germain

& i ask the waiter “did you know Ted Joans – he sat in that corner there”
pointing to the far end of the café
& he says in french “yes he’s been dead 2 yrs.”
as we both simultaneously raise 2 fingers
& i say in “frenglish” – “he was moi gran ami”

& as he cleans our table i stare across the light stained blvd.
at the fancy soap shop remembering the little mouse
she & i saw scurrying frantically about in its window one
warm dark night
way back when.

Ted Joans

has 10 Picasso’s in Timbuktu
says the sand dunes in the sahara are
sensual & soft
refers to that desert as “she”
carries secrets in his water sack
& his passport around his neck
travels around the world
the way most folks travel around
the block
has 2 hats in spain
waiting to be broken in
says he lost half his lps in the Niger River
loves black velvet &
sweet potato pie
knew Bird, Breton &
seems he knows everyone
even me.

had dinner in my apt.
last nite.


it’s saturday morning
i’m 1/2 asleep     yet fully awake
i glance @ the clock it’s 9:11
i stare into its face until it becomes 9:12
tomorrow is mother’s day
it’s supposed to rain
it will be raining in rain town i consider people still piss on trees
a slight cool breeze comes in thru the window
along with the sound of pneumatic drills (ruffling the curtains & my ears)
always deconstructing reconstructing
busy people are some damned busy they still get lost in lost town
i’ll have to make more phone calls  write more poems
this would be a good time to have e-mail   enter the modern age
what does it all mean?  TED IS DEAD
ted is dead  there’ll be no more nerve endings & sweet potato pies
no more sudden visits  no more trips to museums
ted is dead  & bob kaufman was jewish  & baraka was leroi once
ted’s dead & there’ll be no more asking for favors no more borrowing money
no more eating in cheap restaurants no more leaving things in my pad anymore
no more nuts from Economy Candy  no more tours of hidden places
no more wide-eyed crazy excitement no more aardvarks & rhinoceros
no more exquisite corpses  no more world traveler
paris mexico timbuktu n.y. California & deep space too  (no more Black Velvets)
no more pow-wows  elegance  friendship on demand  demanding friendship
people still piss in the street & act like no one sees them  here in piss town
where only his ashes are left to be scattered around the world
there’ll be no more fire escapes no more NO BREAD NO TED
no more private NO SMOKING signs
the hands of the clock keep moving & i move closer to sleep than to waking
ted is dead he was born on the day that white america claimed its INDEPENDENCE
he died surrounded by its history & the history of the entire animal race
he died a rich poor man  self-made legend  one of a kind
he was the entire 20th century
of his time  in his time  ahead of his time
ted was the beginning & the end of time
ted was  he was  ted is  he is  ted’s dead  he’s dead  ted lives  he lives

Ted Joans Reads
Jazz Is My Religion & The Poet
Amsterdam 1964

From the film “Jazz & Poetry” by Louis van Gasteren

 Image on Current page from Afrodisia: Old and New Poems, Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd, 1976

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