For Hersch by Steve Dalachinsky

for hersch

by Steve Dalachinsky


"St.Sebastian, Paris", Copyright © Steve Dalachinsky, 2015

“St.Sebastian, Paris”, Copyright © Steve Dalachinsky, 2015

for hersch — part 1
“only man can save you from blasphemy”
the cars & flatbed trucks stream by
          the road is a thin river that divides
        the rabbi says “we will all be together”
danny says “i thought laura’s name was atrest
        then i saw that all the stones say at rest”
              the flag quietly furls & unfurls in the mild breeze
                               i imagine hersch saying as he goes
                      to his final resting place
           “if only the living were treated
                               as well as the dead”
                  we are told that he treated the children /
                           everyone / with equal value
          adam was the first man according to the bible
              adam was hersch’s first great grandson
          who he got to see once
                  he called him his “angel”
              the stone has been altered by the blues
                  the sky     perfectly blue / clear
        it is the first blue ever created & we must give it perpetual care.

for hersch — part 2
     his son sings a blues for him
          his grand daughter cries them
we are bordered on one side by a gravel road
          boarded up factories
& empty curtained offices
              — they all appear dead
sunlight pours into the grave
as if cleansing the soil
   & we shovel what seems like endless
      amounts of dirt
onto the simple pine box…
   my aching bones     shortness of breath
          & keen hearing tell me
that those around me are still alive
        …that i am still alive
          i want to learn from this
i want to feel sad    emotional
          but all i feel is the heat from the sun
              & the sweat under my chin
all i see is the too blue sky
              all i smell are the fumes
         all i taste is the breeze
                  & all i hear:
    the sound of the shovel
                  as it scrapes against
                        soil & stones.
~Steve Dalachinsky

Photo Copyright © 2013 Arthur Kaye

Photo Copyright © 2013 Arthur Kaye

Steve Dalachinsky is a legendary New York downtown poet. He is active in the Free jazz scene. He was born in Brooklyn, New York. He has been writing poetry for many years and has worked with such musicians as William Parker, Susie Ibarra, Matthew Shipp, Roy Campbell, Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen, Mat Maneri, Federico Ughi, Rob Brown, Tim Barnes and Jim O’Rourke. He has appeared at most of the Vision Festivals, an Avant-jazz festival involving many of these musicians. He also appears often at the Knitting Factory, a unique live music club in Tribeca. Recent books include The Final Nite & Other Poems: Complete Notes From A Charles Gayle Notebook 1987-2006 (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006), a compendium of poetry written while watching saxophonist Charles Gayle perform throughout New York City in that time period, and the revised and expanded second edition of A Superintendent’s Eyes (Unbearable Books/Autonomedia, 2013). Other publications include Trial and Error in Paris from Loudmouth Collective Press and Quicksand from Isis Press. His spoken word albums include Incomplete Directions, I thought it was the end of the world then the end of the world happened again with Federico Ughi, and Phenomena of Interference with Matthew Shipp. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife, painter and poet Yuko Otomo.

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One Response to For Hersch by Steve Dalachinsky

  1. Stephen Morrissey

    Beautifully written, and moving, elegy. That’s about how one feels at a funeral:

    i want to learn from this
    i want to feel sad emotional
    but all i feel is the heat from the sun
    & the sweat under my chin