It's Mother's Day, so I am posting Jack's poem "Mother." You may also hear him read it in the clip I am posting, which is an amazing experience. Jack's wife, Agneta, believes that this is the best poem he has ever written. I am pretty sure it's up there in his poetical pantheon.
It was almost two years that I had not seen Jack. He was in Rome in May 2012 for a couple of readings at the Circolo degli Artisti and at Chiccen. So, it was really a joy to spend a few hours with him last night. There are a few people I think I know as well as Jack. Writing his bio this is almost inevitable, but every time we meet we end up chatting about us and about his life. He brought some great news from San Francisco. It looks like Ferlinghetti's biographer has managed to ask the great icon of the Beats the questions I wanted to ask him regarding Jack. I am indeed on cloud 9 for this.
Last night's reading was simply great. Jack was at his best and read some new poems too. "The Chaplin Arcane" was a pleasant surprise. And, he also read some of my favorite poems such as "Winter Solstice." He was accompanied by a great jazz orchestra, the TJO (Terni Jazz Orchestra) and the poetry and jazz interaction was simply great. I truly loved "Mother" read as the guitarist played "Little Wing."
Jack told me he hopes to be back in Rome after his Italian tour--16 readings in about a month. Which is more than amazing given his eight decades. I so look forward to that.
There is an image that will stick in my head for a long time: last night as I was following his steps as he headed toward the stage of the Teatro Valle for the sound check, he was walking in front of me and I could not help smiling. His Fedora hat and gait reminded me of Charlie Chaplin. I guess this image will end up in a new poem.