After I retired, I would meet Gene at our favorite coffee shop for breakfast. Often my son would join us. We would talk of many things, the dysfunctional and rancorous academic environment at the local university, war, our travels, politics, love and hate, good books, and local authors like Tony Hillerman and Rudolfo Anaya. We didn't always agree but we sure had a grand time each and every morning we met at the cafe - which was almost every day for several years.
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Frumkin:
Gene Frumkin (1928–2007) was an American poet and teacher.
Born and raised in New York City and educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (B.A. in English, 1950; editor, Daily Bruin), Eugene Frumkin worked as a bank teller before beginning his writing career as a journalist. He first took up poetry seriously while enrolled in an adult education class taught by the poet Thomas McGrath. During the 1950s he was Poetry Editor of the literary journal Coastlines, which he co-founded with Mel Weisburd in 1955.
In 1966, Frumkin moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to take a teaching position at the University of New Mexico, where he remained until his retirement in 1994. At the University Frumkin edited the Blue Mesa Review and taught a number of students who would go on to distinguished careers, including Gloria Frym, Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz and Leslie Marmon Silko. In 1968, Frumkin signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
Frumkin's poetry has appeared in Chelsea, Conjunctions, Evergreen Review, Kayak, New Letters, The Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, Sulfur, and many other literary magazines, and in anthologies ranging from Robert Bly's Forty Poems Touching on Recent American History (1970) to The Best American Poetry 2002, edited by Robert Creeley. His work is noted for its meditative character, its wit, and its unexpected turns and surprises, which show the influence of Surrealism.
It is difficult to imagine that he has been gone since 2007. I miss him often. He was a good and kind friend to my son and me. So, this old grump isn't much into poetry, actually. But, I did read Gene's poetry, since I knew him.
A link to Add-Verse: http://www.add-verse.info/
A link to Santa Fe Poetry Broadside: Gene Frumkin: http://www.sfpoetry.org/frumkin1.html
This poem, Let the Lines Stand, is taken from the Santa Fe Broadside Gene Frumkin pages. It was published the year before his death in 2007.
Let the Lines Stand
It will be hard to erase each other
now that she is a beauty in my lines
I had no longer thought to find there.
Even should she move to another vision
of herself and me, I have her written
in immovable ink through my mind’s
open spaces, where she can be at ease
in her dreams, and mine. This affinity
subverts in thought other obligations
thicker than easy passage from now to then.
Our words are the clasp that holds us
together, but after they are all spoken
what can engender in us a certain place
wherein we can see each other a step up
from limbo? Patience. Let the lines stand
as long as they can. When they fall,
even then, I will hold her, speechless,
the lines still there, still held to their page.
Copyright © 2006 Gene Frumkin
When Gene wrote Let the Lines Stand, his love of many years was dying with cancer. She died soon after he wrote this poem. I remember sitting with him and talking of her, how he loved her and how she changed before his eyes as she approached her death.
When we become old, like I have become, we lose our friends. They become dust once again and the things they leave behind become our treasures. I miss you Gene.