So quick bright things come to confusion
With five speech stresses first five words
in effect the line has `run its course' by (age 17?) the time it
just gets started -- like a firework (stormy night sky) at
height of its ascension -- how beautiful, how tragic ! --
thence plunge into Chaos of (unstressed 5-syllable) metrical oblivion.
Larry Eigner's life work was not like that
-- he lived
(`quick') to the end (`smart'), a long life for someone
with cerebral palsy, he brought said life's work to completion
(rare thing amongst humans) & had more or less stopped typing.
He said possibly he should be in Guinness world records.
He lived in his body as few do -- his profile
were that of a `figure from Egyptian mythology' -- a fully
achieved (Jewish) animal. He got himself in & out of bed, went
to the toilet, sat in his chair, walked holding on to a bar some
distance up & down the ramp outside, ate with a fork, digressed
in his monologues, watched television, traversed in his
electric wheelchair down the ramp (around corners) & around &
about in much of Berkeley, went to readings, complained about
me to Jack (Foley), thought/saw & typed his terrific poems --
i.e. generally conducted himself as an Angel amongst us.
The Angel he was (like Spinoza in benevolence, all-over beneficence).
He was not always `good' -- but he did what
supposed to do, on the page -- pure (seeing) doing. Thus anyone may, can.
Larry's work does not derive from his palsy
-- it is not
`an heartening example of what somebody with cerebral palsy can
do' (i.e. look out his window). It is where the species may go
with Language through Stream of Time -- towards engagement
with strange/holy fact of what's (`always') happening ("how
or why" as he wonders it) before you. Like Emily Dickinson's,
it's an `example' for all of us `regular Americans' how to
And believe -- believe in the world thought
transacting in front of you. In the words (world). See it,
imagine it & write it.
On the other hand, it is sad that he died,
at all. And
perished. In that sense Shakespeare is accurate (`quick' is
`the dead' without possibly nonexistent adverb `quickly'). Too
bad the handicapped die too!
In his funeral oration, Larry's brother Richard
first-handedly & with emotion that Larry had a strong will & that
he was an American poet. His brother Joe followed & emphasized
Larry's commitment to liberal causes.
Just open a book, any book -- by Larry Eigner
sorting, with finger pointing to some place on a page --You
will find something. For your mind & heart.
February 9, 1996