Remembering Alice Folkart, a Friend   Wednesday, June 07, 2017

remembering, wishing for more

a fellow poet
wrote a remembrance
to another fellow poet who died,
a poem I have been unable
to write myself

about Alice,
a poet of grace
and humor who believed in
and exercised a philosophy that recognized
an essential goodness to the universe and the people
in it, a poet who made me laugh and often think
with her daily poems

such an interesting life she hinted at...

born in Los Angeles,
her mother lost or gone early,
her father, a person of some consequence
in the movie business who apparently loved her
but didn't pay much attention, 
on her own in Los Angeles at a very early age,
time in San Francisco among the Beats,  working
for some time as a model,  living with an
artist, backpacking the world with a female friend,
self-educated, exceedingly well-read through her wandering
times and a business career and until the end,
married at last  twice, two grown  children, married
again in her later life to  Japanese classical musician,
learning his language and moving to Hawaii in the early 70s,
a long, hard recovery after being struck by a hit and run driver
as she walked to the beach, a powerful swimmer, apparently,
unafraid of the tides and rough surf of the ocean
and of life...

bits and pieces revealed in bits and pieces of her poems,  how
so often, I wish she combined it all,  pulled all the pieces
together, elaborating in a memoir or autobiography,
telling the full story of her life...

left now  with only the pieces of her from her poems,
learning, to my surprise, it's true, it is possible to fall in love
on the internet... 

Alice Folkart was a good friend and fellow poet I never met in person, but only though her poems and our internet exchanges about poetry, hers and mine, and the work we did.

Alice died June 6, 2016 at the age of 75, in hospital in Kahlua, Hawaii.

This issue of "Here and Now" will be devoted entirely to her poetry as she posted it over the years in the Blueline, House of 30 Forum. Because of the number of poems posted is so great (in the thousands), I have chosen the last sixteen, posted here in reverse order she wrote and posted them, beginning with her last poem. That may seem an odd arrangement, but Alice endured much and came to her end still very much herself. That is a victory we can all hope for in our own end and the one for Alice I wanted to start with.

Beginning here, the last poem she wrote, ten days from her passing.

I love this poem because it shows Alice at the end was still the Alice we all knew, funny, honest, and tough.

Pure and Simple usually isn't


Yes, I know that I'm not dead - check with your marketing department.

Doesn't you ad say: "door-to-door, everything included?"

See. I told you so, SO JUST SEND ME THE BILL, DAMN IT.

What do you mean, you won't know the total until it's all over?


I am not being snippy, young lady.

And I am bereaved. Wouldn't you be?

Do you want to conclude this or write up a contact or something,

or shall we meet at the nearest Starbucks and settle it over

an iced Frapuchhino and a cookie?

You could overcharge me a bit and feel smug.

Or you could undercharge me and feel smug.

You decide. I just don't want anyone but myself grieving

or having to write checks or anything.





What it Feels like

Been under the weather,
or maybe it's been under me.

Feel like flu and depression.



Nap Trap

The nap is a trap,
or a nip, or a dip in
the hot springs of life.

It's good for you,
especially if it's in the shade
of some big tree. That would suit me.

But even in a bed, with a red quilt,
a nap will make you wilt, but nicely,
like a lettuce past its prime, taking its time.



Who's Under the Bed - in the Dark

Yes, it's better to hang over the side of the bed

in the dark

to see what's under there making those squidichy noises

than damn the torpedoes or curse the darkness

or even burn the candle at both ends

than to lie here in the humid sheets,

listening to the beats of my heart

which better than my head knows fear when she sees it

In the dark

mice make that sort of noise snipping away at ripe old bedroom slippers

Rats do too, but much louder and they're not polite at all,

they talk with their mouths fill, and they spit out the bones.

What I worry about

in the dark


You don't know what they'll be, who they are, in a jar or out?

Some are kind, some are blind, but with keen hearing,

the earrings that they wear are really there for show,

they're not even sparkly.

So I'll bend down over the side of he bed,

let my hair hang down from my head.

If no one tugs it or shears it off, or pulls it out by the roots,

I'll put on my boots and climb down and see who's visiting me.



Wisest Choices

rough road,
gruff fellows
plodding beside me.

Dogs barking,
sparrows larking,
would they make me a cup of tea?

They don't look like the type,
probably demand payment
and chide me about trash.

Wouldn't want that,
so I'll just mince along quietly,
stay under the RADAR.



There It is Again...

There it is again...
Send it away until it is day,
until the horses are all in,
until the weeds bloom roses,
until we know that the sun will rise.

I lift mine eyes..
It is day, the cattle and the sheep
awakened from their sleep
eat flowers with their hay,
until all is day, all is day,
and the sun has risen.

There is a flood coming
but we have built our boat,
know that it will float, a dark ark
one tiny window to let in the dove
and a silver ray from above,
the sun.

There it is again...
lapping waves against our hull,
a gull, not a dove,
and above us rain ceasing, heavens creasing,
we tear our vessel apart, ditch the gloom,
make room for the sun.



Perfect Poem (not bragging)

A perfect poem?
Hiawatha? The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere?
One of Shakespeare's sonnet's?
Almost anything by Shel Silverstein?

No, we don't want perfect poems.
We'll settle for any old angle of words
slithering down the page or the screen,
some popping out and flirting.

This is not a world for perfect poem.
It's a world where people argue about perfection,
or almost anything else that they know nothing about.
So take your perfect poem and mess it up a little.



ER Portrait

They rehydrated me,
two-and-a-half liters of saline,
a CT scan, an EKG,
in fact, two EKGs,
numerous blood draws,
no food
no drink
visits by the jolly, worried doctor
who asked me if I needed a blanket.

Damn straight, I needed a blanket.
I'm sure they keep the ER
cold so that if someone dies
they can keep the corpse fresh.

The jolly doctor, his very self,
bought me two warm blankets.
He tucked me in.

Never tucked in by a doctor before!

He brought me a third blanket later.

An angel hovered over me,
the minute she walked into the room
my pulse rate dropped to close to normal.
A nurse, very young, but business-like,
the other nurses couldn't understand it.

"She didn't even speak!" they whispered.
No, but she was there.

Home now after 10 hours in the ER
mostly waiting, waiting, waiting.
Everyone kind solicitous,
couldn't do enough for me.

Upshot is I need to see my regular doctor today,
get my hemoglobin checked - I'm quite anemic
and maybe arrange for a transfusion.

A transfusion of liver and onions and other
iron-rich delicacies perhaps.

On the road again.




just couldn't
although I knew
that I should
at least try

But couldn't


Couldn't ignore
my corporeal self.

Couldn't rise above anything,
as if pinned down

by an ugly, black rock,
or a malevolent monster octopus

No air,
no where to go for help,

So I just couldn't
couldn't write



I will try

I will try.

That's the best I can do.

Popcicles, ice chips,
jello too.

Just put one foot
in front of the other.

No mother to lead me.
No fee to pay.

It's a new day.
I must try



Listening to Someone Else's Childhood

The children across the hall wind down,
mama pulls the blanket of night
up around their ears, their gap-toothed smiles.
Teddy Bears and plush rabbits, special pillows
tuck in with the children, little Gods to keep them safe.

The children across the hall will wind up again
tangled in the glow of dawn, the aroma of bacon,
Bears and Rabbits somewhere in the nest or on the floor,
the cold floor, little feet into little slippers,
a wild whoop, maybe there are pancakes too.



Sunny and warm...

Sunny and warm,
moderate trade winds.


Lowering, pulsating
white sky

all day today, yesterday and the day before,
so no need to shut the door

for fear of solar rays,
just keep the bumbershoot handy.

And wonder what the weatherman
has been nipping at.




The chemo seems to have turned a corner,
satisfied itself that I've had as much as I can take,
that I'm not faking it and I'd better have a rest.

Morning hours difficult, fuzzy, upside down,
green in the gullet, dizzy in the head withe I got out of bed,
but the day struck noon and another tune started to play.

The rest of the day, staying mostly still, but on top of the hill,
I slipped into ease, and if you please, began to feel like myself.
What wealth that is! From the chemo fog and dark

you're never sure that this isn't a Devil's lark,
that you'll feel lost and afraid forever, never home again.
But then comes the sun in your heart. That must be the art of it all.



Unexpected Rain

Blessed rain,
here it is,
long after we'd given up hope.

Just wish I cold
push it off to the east,
off to Canada's fires.

But I can't,
the best I can do
is run outside, quick, before it's gone.



On Starting Another Round

Whee!! Here we go again,
another start, a fresh start
with another round of poems,
anything I want and some I don't want,
but it's all okay, a new day.

Hooray!! Here we are again,
a long line of poems
waiting to be recognized
and set in order, sad, silly, happy, serious,
earth-shaking, dawdling, mewling,

But all fresh and new,
from me to you and everyone else.
What a joy! What freedom.

We write 'em, we read 'em.
They are the bread of life.



The Truth of It

Into my veins the elixir dripped,
I watched it,
each drop


Out of the hanging bag,
on the IV Tree,
the only tree in sight.
It will never bloom.

Drip, drip, drip:
five people in five brown recliner chairs,
all tipped back to the same angle,
the silent dip dropping
into the veins of the old Chinese guy,
the veins of the sedate Japanese woman,
enlivening the skinny arms and legs
of the young hip hop artist,
somehow caught in the real world
with his guns and knives tattoos.

Go, go,
little drips.
Go, go little drops.
Get those bad guy cells,
the ones with evil intent.
Save us.

That was yesterday.

Today, I'm not so sure,
so tired hat I wonder if I can move?
So dizzy. So fizzy.
It's my brain, not my hair that feels frizzy.

It was like this last time, too.
It will pass, but will first lay down
its minefield, hide its snipers,
spread its poison in our honor.

I see another doctor this afternoon,
a cardiologist. We'll see what he has to say.
This is the day, this is the day.



Rest in Peace my Poet Friend

It was an honor and a joy to know you.

As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and to me

Also as usual, I am Allen Itz owner and producer of this blog, and a not so diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically here:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad
 I welcome your comments below on this issue and the poetry and photography featured in it.

  Just click the "Comment" tab below.


New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces 

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio

Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time

at 3:42 PM Blogger judysnwnotes said...

Good to read these again, Allen. Her voice uniquely hers -- stands out to me in these her final words/songs. I remember each -- will likely save a few to pull up and read again in the future


at 7:41 AM Blogger Wayne said...

Thanks for this, Allen. It's good to remember Alice, poet and friend.

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