Along the walls of the white cube,
From the life of Alvah Goldbook.
They howl at strangers from their polished frames,
And lonely places on the walls:
Consoling, inspiring, revealing
Nothing but mystery and mysticism.
Portraits and papers from old cameras and typewriters
Jagged, torn, worn and wrinkled,
By a self-doubting boy genius.
Underneath each photograph the boy
Writes and remembers,
The beautiful people who astounded him.
Black and white—
Sometimes in colour,
His messy hand makes the words hard to read.
There is something so intimate about penmanship,
The things you can see in a dash
You couldn’t hear in a conversation.
How the curl of an m reminds you of the wind
Or how the tail of the g, the y—
Sometimes the j, curl into itself
As if seeking something to embrace.
Now, these images that are cut and cradled,
From points of the past,
Betray the grace of time;
Solidifying the image of a young boy wonder—A poet.
This is a retrospective for both a pen name and a poet.
The pen name is alive, but the poet is dead now.
These are his marks,
His etchings into existence.
How vast and poetic your words become
When you are dead.
The echo of present tense
Neglected, regretted, forgotten,
As if mumbled in sleep.
Your words are never valid when you are alive.
This poem will be published in The Toronto Wordsmith‘s zine. It will be my 3rd publication; It was previously titled “Gallery” and inspired the Allen Ginsberg show at U of T. Ironically, a month before the show I had become fascinated with Beat poets and philosophy. As I strolled into each room I couldn’t help but think “Look how normal he looks. Like a real person.” I would soon realize that it is “normal people” who are later casted in bronze, quoted and remembered, but sadly it is usually after they have died.