Monday, October 24, 2011

October 31st is my 25th anniversary of living in Philadelphia! 

Where do you want to die? Don’t tell me you haven’t thought of this. Where you want to die says a lot about how the place fills your life, your waking dreaming life. For me it’s always been Philadelphia. For me poetry has always been about Philadelphia. For me Philadelphia has always been about poetry.

I have known hundreds of poets in this city and this is not a figure of speech, I do mean hundreds. 95 percent of them stopped writing. I’m glad to have grown into this world WITH the poems. In August, walking down Sansom Street near my tiny apartment an old poet friend of twenty years ago said hello. He didn’t bring up poetry so I did. He said, “Nah, got to grow up some day, right?” And I said, “I HAVE grown up, but WITH poetry!” He scratched his head vigorously then said, “Yeah, I miss poetry sometimes though.” And I said, “It’s always there, you don’t have to miss it too long if you don’t want to.” I hope he’s reading and writing again SOON because I liked his poems so much.

It’s funny, that reaction he had, saying that we have to grow up one day. What is that about? He’s not the first of these MANY poets who have stopped writing to say such a thing to me. I think they associate poetry with a time in their lives when they felt freer than they are now. And maybe they romanticized poetry when they were younger and became frightened by it as other demands pulled at them.

You can do anything and write poems. Right? It feels silly saying this because it seems so obvious to me, but I guess it’s NOT so obvious to some? If you love poetry and want to write poems, and are not writing poems, and you live in Philadelphia, and want to talk about it, call me: 215.563.3075 (this is a landline with an old-fashioned answer-machine because cell phones DO cause brain cancer, and I HATE brain cancer and I LOVE my LIFE!)

It’s a beautiful world! And I feel like I live in the best place on Earth. The city of Philadelphia is perfect for poets to be poets. I moved here in 1986 into a teeny apartment and turned the rest of the city into my living room. I have an enormous living room, and it’s where I write, and live.

Hope I get to celebrate my 50th anniversary of living here. I love it! If not, I hope someone scatters my ashes on the northeast corner of 22nd and Chestnut, under the big tree. Don’t ask permission, I GIVE YOU PERMISSION! Thanks!

Thanks Philadelphia! And thanks to my incredible, beautiful friends! LOVE YOU!

p.s. these 4 images are 4 of my favorite places in Philadelphia

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