This entry is in memory of my dear friend Tony Sanders, teacher of writing and exciting, difficult poet, whom I was speaking with on the phone about snow storms and friendly neighbors a couple of weeks ago and who died, I discovered just now, a couple of days ago.
Here is a passage from a prose poem called “No Can Don’t,” in his book Subject Matters: Prose Poems. You can find all his books on Amazon.com.
“…The older you get, the older you get. The irregular skyline, like a well-worn house key, says so. You are now the river, then the riverbed, then the river again with some remorse, since you never get used to opportunity, like a half-day of work or happenstance happening on a park bench known for drama, though you leave without so much as a faint ‘hello’ or the tip of a cap as you try to sort out the significance the line-breaks and syntax of your thoughts, while avoiding your fear of saying what was already obvious in the fingle-fangle of the moment the hero in the novel seizes upon. There would always be excuses and Acts of God you could Google like history or ask the Psychic, who saw your time was up and your wallet out.”
Back when we taught together and shared an office we would occasionally read our students’ astonishing or hilarious errors to one another. On the phone we would discuss politics, romance, favorite bands, bad jokes, late-night Law & Order reruns. On the phone he sometimes read me new poems. I remember when he read me this one.
The word’s the thing, my dear friends, and people who use it well are precious for that. And for many other things.