........remembering my first visit to Larry's house, a five hour
wonderful one-on-one visit, discussing everything, reading many
things, and having dinner (his entourage of roommates so quiet
as to be invisible) -- I was immediately struck by the sight of
the front room with many windows, walls bulging from the gaggle of
boxes containing writings and I soon learned that Larry would know,
in all the stacks, where to find one small poem. "There, underneath, see the
grey book, it's underneath the blue, no....there!" We later read
together from rumpled pages of William Carlos Williams, favorite lines.
Larry's books, like the Velvet Rabbit, were worn down until all the beauty
is gone, ready for the rag bag, but a discerning eye saw only the holiness of
serving well!

Larry was open to life's experiences, with a "why not" directness. He took
in with careful attention everything he could get his hands on, and his ears
into - the words AND the music, with interest, sometimes with awe - art
and life as one, as connected, no demarcation points. Life, to be born and die
in short time, but why not put that aside and absorb everything whether
there is any reason to or not. Larry did. Life's constant feeding left little, if
any time, for "show" or pretense, and that kind of purity can allow the luxury
of "awe" (or listening) without the clutter of those things anointed by "the
others"," those things which "others" segregate, name, declare OKAY. What
was important was important. On Larry's terms. His own fame never
tampered with his ingenuous quality.

Ways Larry experienced the world included looking out the window,
discussing literature, reading, watching movies and listening to the radio.
RADIO! KALW! A favorite station, kind of quirky and full of esoteric
information, so unpretentious that much like Larry's interview with Jack
Foley, KPFA, it was as if they didn't need a radio, the voices just came into
the room on their own.

Perhaps on rare occasions, depending on whether your in 1940 or 1996,
there may have been times (hard to imagine Larry ever being ignored!)
when Larry among strangers became an "object" - the wheel chair in the
room. I'm sure, in such event, Larry would have used the time well, used his
'moment of invisibility' to listen, eavesdrop even! You see more, you hear
more. And, if you are a writer, you TELL! And if you are Larry you don't just
tell in writing! Larry had MUCH to say, his mind racing constantly. As an
audience himself (participator, sometimes speaking up and joining in!) to
other artists, I can say what a delightful listener he is, but that is not to say
that he was not foremost, a great talker!!!!!!
More personally: Knowing, in 1986, I was new to the poetry world after
some years in music, and knowing full well I wasn't a fan of the language
poets, Larry couldn't wait to ask me the first time a Language poet spoke in
Jack Foley's Series (Cafe Milano) Larry called loudly and clearly, across the
grinned!), knowing all the while, it would not be my favorite cup of tea!

And another example of his wry wit. I was complaining about having
too much stuff (after 30 years!!! boxes and boxes of writings, music
manuscripts) --- he said, smiling "They won't put you in jail for it, will they,
Jesse?" It kept me sane.

Larry's physical surrounding were many times small, virtually housebound
during some periods, looking out the window as he tells us, but he made it
so the world was wherever HE was, and the thing to do then is, zero in on
the essence, as in his poetry.

In his direct way, Larry said, "I went to the library," and then very pleased
and seemingly surprised: "they had my books on the shelf!" Coming perhaps
from his putting possessions (even his own books) in perspective. He was
free of attachment to "things" - oh, he cared about his poems and loved books
to pieces (literally), his and every book he could get his hands on, but wisely,
Larry was always "somewhere else" and not tied to possensions. - If he loved
a poet, he wanted his friends to know the work, would loan out his favorites,
including Hart Crane and William Carlos Williams.  "Here, take this home
with you, Jesse." Within the pages, a letter from Allen Ginsberg, no
reflection that he was careless of his friend and associate of many years, but
that Larry was somewhere else, living in the moment.

Larry was intently curious about many things, perhaps everything. He
would not be bored! He said to Jack Foley on KPFA, "because I am
interested in everything, I can't be bored." Special. Yes. Special on many
levels a few might overlook. More real, more direct and more pure than
most (reflected in his writings).....some nuances however direct, in the very
directness, are not easily caught, light as butterflies, with subtle colors; a
few may while seeing the same purity, directness and truth in his poetry,
miss the genius of his modesty (it didn't have to be identified, people felt
good to be around him, many friends) perhaps they did sense he was
comfortably in tune, in and out of the beat, his person, his soul, unafraid and
uncluttered. If you were there, in his inclusive world, a magic world of
words, where Larry, mercurial as a Gemini, although Leo, is 'someplace else'
when unimportant trappings of life come plodding in, you may feel the same

LETTER TO LARRY EIGNER written the night after 5-hour one-on-one
visit with Larry at his giant house on McGee Street, June 12, 1990.

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