Charlie Burks.

When i wandered into the Seattle poetry scene 2,000 years ago, i ran into a few people who encouraged and inspired me. One was Charlie. Pablo Neruda wrote of one of his mentors, "For me, you turned language into a landslide of glass houses." for me, Charlie was more a firework explosion, and i witnessed the shards, each with its own vibrant color and trajectory, as they filled the room as he read. Who would have guessed that the line 'one smokes, the other doesn't ', could be so devastating?

We'd go for a beer and he would talk about films, music, painting. If you were really ready to learn, you would learn more from Charlie in five minutes than many others could 'teach' you in twenty years. I think that's what we mean by our 'personal heroes.' Charlie is still around. He's pretty house-bound these days, but we talk on the phone. He was the best possible audience. I remember him comenting on a poet he saw read: I think she's really starting to develop. Did you see when she was walking to the stage, and there was a chair in her way? Did you see the way she moved around it?

Here's a poem by Charlie. It's short so, like all beautiful things, its easy to rush past it.


Freud went to bed and had a dream.
In the dream, he was the other person.
Yielding was the art.


No comments:

Facebook Badge