Stuff No One Knows
But Us
After they stuck my pacemaker in there cuddled next to my site of blood-transport, I was finally allowed to bathe my heart (not permitted for up to two weeks after surgery). So during that time, my heart was dirty, but my soul was pure. Today, exactly two weeks after the slicing and stuffing, I was permitted to soak the bastard for three hours in my very own, very hot bathtub. No soil got into it; only the purest essences. My heart is now clean, perhaps too clean.

We've just published the poetry anthology, and we're going for broke on this one. Expecting of course huge and loving reviews in the NYT, WP, LAT and all the other big newspapers. Barring that, we are sure to get one, we would hope, in RALPH.

Our fame is assured. At eighty-two, I will be called the Grandma Moses of contemporary poetry.

Remember Grandma Moses? She started painting in her old age, finally doing around 1,500 in all, being acclaimed as a master of primitive folk art.

§   §   §

That question about remembering things like Anna Mary Robertson Moses might be like asking if anyone remembers Twiggy, or the hearings before House UnAmerican Activities Committee, or Stalin's daughter running away to New York, or James Eastland, Dalton Trumbo, Gully Jimson, Jean Shepherd on WOR (AM), Trotsky & his Icepicks --- or S. J. Perelman, or the Dean at our College, and his tic. (Do you remember Dean Cadbury's twitch? Now that I have one, it's all too clear: I am being held responsible for laughing at an old man's twitch from 60 years ago).

So we're stuck with those memories, and as soon as we check out, there will be no one here to remember them with us anymore, no one to miss them. These memories, dreams, and reflections will be outta here . . . and we'll be outta here ourselves: after we pass though what one of our poets called "the iron garden at the end of the garden."

--- Your pal,

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Hola Lo,

By all means send me a copy of the new anthology. Hardly a day goes by when I don't muse on one poem or another, such as my favorite canto:

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue.
    I'm a schizophrenic,
    And so am I.

As you very well know, S.J. Perelman is my God. As for the rest, the terms Gully Jimson, Twiggy, Cadbury, and the twitch have great emotional resonance for me, especially the last one.

And I remember very well the story of Stalin's daughter. Her full name was Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva, and she made quite a stir when she defected to the USA and later became a US citizen. But then she went back to the USSR in 1984 --- almost just in time for its collapse --- then in the 1990s she went to Britain and lived in Bristol and became a British citizen too, and then finally came back to the USA and ended her days in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

With this busy schedule, she just couldn't find the time to sojourn for a while in Oulu, Finland, and acquire Finnish citizenship.

And your mention of Trotsky and the icepick brings back fond memories. Why, I once visited the street in Coyoacán where it happened. The icepick attack came after Trotsky's Coyoacán neighbor David Siqueiros, an even worse shot than an artist, raked Trotsky's place with his submachine gun and missed.

Did you know that the prime mover behind the icepick plot was Caridad Mercader, who sent her son Ramón Mercader to carry it out? It's NKVD code name was Operación Pato (no kidding) . . . and Caridad was supposed to pick Ramón up after he had killed Trotsky.

Unfortunately, she got stuck in Mexico City traffic, terrible even then, and couldn't give her son a ride out of there. They were the most exciting mother/son team since Ma Barker/Fred Barker, Eleanor of Aquitaine/Richard Coeur de Leon, or even Agripina/Nero. Ramón was caught, and served 20 years in the pokey in Mexico for aggravated trespass and unauthorized assasination. Upon release, he moved to the Soviet Union and became a conceptual artist, while his mother moved to Paris and opened a restaurant.

Yes . . . all these things are sinking into the memory hole as the Twitter/Instagram generation takes over from us.

Así es la vida.

--- Dr. Phage
--- Richard Saturday
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