Poetry: Cliff Fyman
Loosening Home Ties
Mother's faucet. Butter
bagels. I place them
and Stetson in Shor's
Glatt Kosher Catering shopping
bag. Last hug
goodbye to sister Sherry,
I leave Barney
my young brother a short note
Ciao with my gift to him,
a corner's amount of
one bag and 3 joints tucked
neatly in his pencil drawer.
Walk to subway with Mom.
She's never been past
Cleveland and speaks
of Delaware Water Gap
as the most beautiful
rolling hills she's ever seen.
Holds me when I break
down in her lap writing
that note. “You're just going
away on vacation,” she says and
the “memories at home
are too painful for you,” and
“smart kids are hard to raise.” Go
through separate turnstiles
together: her tokens. Kiss
have fun,” she says firmly.
I wait for Manhattan
train. She sits
on Jamaica steps.
I look at her to wave.
She looks straight ahead.
I step right to the right
She waves reluctantly.
“E” comes I can't
see her. Corner seat
silent car. “F” train
bearing down the track.
Her train slowly pulls out.
Before the “F”
splits our line of vision
last time together
we glance once
--- 11 June 76 * Continental Avenue, Forest Hills
Lee Drops Out in Cedar Falls
Lee and I had a long talk tonight
on religion. He's Catholic.
When he questions Christianity
it is whether or not
Jesus was the son of God.
He could've been a self-proclaimed number.
Lee believes in a lot of what Jesus said
thought he was a cool guy and gave us a lot
of beautiful things to learn from
but he doubts whether JC was The Man.
“He could've come from fucking,” Lee shrugged.
My questions of religion came from a totally
different place. I tried
to think whether there actually was a
Supreme being or not and did He really
give Moses the Ten Big Ones.
God was a feeling that was in
my body, blood, my breath, buzzing
in my head and in the air against my skin.
This was His total presence.
He was down here in the abstract.
It dawned on me how I completely avoided
the topic of God in heavy detail in the past
three years. It's come up once in a while
in getting in touch with the feeling
of spirituality and nature how we are
all the same thing beginning with the
spirit that is drawn through our nostrils
but I haven't...I guess it's cool I've been
thinking positively of what God is and not
trying to argue against what God isn't.
I'm leaving the yeshiva world it seems.
Why try to figure out their problems?
I would like to express my own
spirituality and acknowledge it.
I think when anyone is creative
that feeling is stimulated by a love of “God”
or Beauty or the Holy. It's an absolute feeling.
You feel its solitude and are all alone with it.
Material falls away, all that
surrounds you falls to the side
and you float.
Tough News Reaching the City
This is all blowing me out. Waverly & 6th.
Coffee shop. 2:07 a.m. Ellen across the table
drinking black coffee just told me Phil Ochs
committed suicide last week! I'm really
depressed. Phil Ochs really meant
a lot to me! He sung sincerely, it all meant
a lot to him: the war, civil rights, materialism, machinery.
When the Yom Kippur war broke out Abe
Nathan played all anti-war peace songs and
one of the people he played a lot was
Phil Ochs: clear, sensitive, committed, he
really meant all he said and felt it, bitterly.
“I ain't marchin' anymore.”
You didn't hear much of him after '68, '69, say,
in the 70s. I never heard him making any new
music, he just sort of dropped out of sight.
Ellen tells me he was drinking.
--- 13 April 76 * Greenwich Village