Poems, 1965 Lyric poetry and prose pieces; mixed. 7 pages (one is a carbon copy); An incidental collection of individual pieces, not a complete work. Philadelphia, PA; Age: 13; Adolescence; Self-involvement and discovery; melancholy.


Poem from 1965, Mss_0013_01.

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Loose sheets, clipped together; Typewriten; Good; clip has rusted into the paper;

Prose;Various; The pieces vary; one short vignette is about a chance encounter on the bus.

The poems are moody, melancholy, fatalistic, and perhaps influenced by Jacques Prévert or Edna Saint Vincent Millay, two unfortunate influences in my early teens.

Any errors in typing are always with keys next to the correct one--so "i" is under "o" and "r" is under "t" and "u" is under "y". I was a two-finger typist, and in spite of careful picking at the keyboard, made some errors. The page is faded, but the immediacy of its composition is still present.

Related mss: 1964;   Nameless I, 1970;   Prose, 1968;   Journals from: Summer, 1968;   Journal of Characters, 1968;   Journals: Fall, 1969;   Winter, 1970;   Inventory, 1970;   Summer; 1970;  Amy, 1984.  

The month of November became emblematic of all that is lost, and longed for, within the limited experience of my thirteen years. I was longing for Amy. Our November 1964 encounter defined the opening event in our relationship and as November returned in the cycle of the year, I felt its moods as a refrain.

Interesting that I chose, deliberately, to suggest that "Death is eminent" and not "imminent" in the "dear beloved month." I saw the grandeur of the tragic mood, not the pressure of its anticipated arrival. What was "the long remembered embrace of icy clouds" except the sadness of not being with Amy? A tone of resignation pervaded the entire work, with the final line making my commitment clear. I will not fight to free myself from her. I created a memorial to the shreds of the connection by writing about them, hoping that this would keep alive the possibility of more ahead. Within a few months, I would succeed in laying seige to her resistant attentions. I was slowly inserting myself into her life, routines, and into the other friendships she had. My determination did not waver, but the opportunities were limited to those Amy herself would allow.

I concentrated on turning the emotions into texts, to have a productive outcome come from the difficulty of longing for something—someone—I was not sure that I could have. Loss and longing were mixed. I was stirred by emotions unparalled in my experience. And so, on the following page, the next poem ended with its own inscription of futility and expression, of the cry and the desire to yield to a larger universe of absorption: "I am very conscious now of silences / And wish / That I could be as silent as the night in which I cry."

Writing was solace and substitute. The poems were incantations and spells, whose power to create connection I believed in, even as I struggled to engineer the occasions in which I could, and did, gradually make Amy my own.

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