Listen, I say to him, Iron Butterfly’s got nothing on Ginger Baker. And streets like this one will be named after you. Avenues and boulevards wide as rivers where one can swim for hours in traffic with buses proud as frigates exhaling their black smoke. In London and Paris, plaques with your name will grace houses where you stayed, and monuments of you in parks from Madrid to Seattle. Yes, even in Spain where celebrating dead poets they executed is a thing. Here you pause and shrug. History is a fickle mother. In this purgatorial walk you mourn your twenties. Seeing your face in a mirror, though not exactly your face, but the face of someone multiplying like a mirror image of a mirror image. What music did you listen to in your twenties? Of course you bought records— often random 45s and LPs of artists you were never passionate about. You had too many hang-ups, too Catholic, impatient, saddled with ephemeral contingencies. In other words you were immature. You listened to pop, but felt guilty about it. And jazz? You didn’t know enough. Having yet to discover Art Blakey and Max Roach. And Ginger Baker was only a name you attached to Blind Faith. Not a man to be wary of should you happen to catch him walking your way along a dark street that already bears your name.
Beyond the ship, which is more sea, more water He recites the waves scroll like a sacrament in water
Homer who was vague with color didn’t see the way Yeats saw the sea he gulped like a flagon of water
Their eyes, glittering ancient eyes alit in lapis he recites in his ministry of water
Beyond the sea which is more sea than masts Rizal accepts the wine-dark glass murky as water Galileo, drunk with the milk of heresy, imagines space as the sea undulating with narcotic waves empty of water
He declares: there is no color in night no color in water And the sea—call it blind or faith is all mystery imbued with water
Our interlocutor, George Costanza, recounts: “The sea was angry that day, my friends – like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.” /.../ In a smart and select pub in Bloomsbury, Virginia Woolf sits the young José Rizal down with her milky glass of Ouzo. Ready to school the young man in her boozy, but refined pronouncements. “Take it from me, Squanto, we should all be writing novels devoted to influenza, and yes, odes to typhoid and pneumonia! Why not lyrics to toothache?” Rizal nods ruefully, nursing his one-beer blues.
-- Eugene Gloria is the author of four books of poems. His most recent collection, Sightseer in This Killing City is the recipient of the Indiana Authors Award in poetry. He is the John Rabb Emison Professor of Creative and Performing Arts and English Professor at DePauw University.