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Ian Seed

In Memoriam Gerald

I remember writing from Italy to my father that I’d met someone I could talk poetry
          and philosophy with.
I remember walking with you on Via Carlo Alberto, past the house where Nietzsche
          collapsed, and into the Luxembourg Bookshop, where we bought a copy of
          Ecce Homo to share.
I remember you worried because you thought I was hung up on the myth of poetic
          suffering and redemption. Poetry just tells another story, you said. You were a
          few years older than me.
I remember we took the train from Turin to Venice when they still had those
          compartments with leatherette seats, string luggage racks and sepia photos. It
          was 1983 but felt like a 1950s film, and we were starring as Beat poets.
I remember we argued over the beauty of the Pisan Cantos versus the politics as we
           sat by the canal. Like Pound, we had many lives to reconcile.
I remember we were staying with Italian friends and had to share a bed. I woke in the
           middle of the night, embracing you, and said, ‘Sorry, I was dreaming…’
I remember the tiny tobacconist’s where we bought our cigarettes to see Daniela who
           was behind the counter at all hours.
I remember the light in your eye, and your smile when you ordered a glass of wine.
           The Italian barista told me you were ruffiano. I thought she meant ‘ruffian’,
           but the meaning was less kind: one who deceives.
I remember you splashed your face with cold water in the mornings. Neither of us ate
I remember the students smiled more with you than with me.
I remember the school head said it was time you grew up: you were no longer a
I remember how I hugged you goodbye at Turin station. You were returning to
           Venice to start a new life. It was harder than you thought.
I remember when I came to see you. You only had a single bed and let me sleep in it
          while you slept on a cold floor.
I remember getting lost in Paris and wishing you were with me so I’d find myself
I remember reading Dante for the first time and wanting to talk to you about Vita
I remember wandering the streets and seeing you up ahead, but when I put my hand
          on your shoulder, it wasn’t you who turned around.
I remember later you found me on the internet and sent me poems and stories. You
          were ill. It was a tough gig, you said.
I remembered I hadn’t seen you for more than thirty years when I got the news.
I remember I was a better person when I was with you.



Copyright © Ian Seed, 2019