In memory of the loss of another friend, Arthur Ramer

 

Grass Roots

     -for c. and a.

Rachael Ikins

 

Like the grass

in spring those firm

young spears

kids come through our blue screened door

for sushi, for home-away-from-home.

The folks—family to family

at graduation; a torch lit good-bye.

Generations of names of faces

markered on  kitchen walls–

one year, three years, ten

their temporary roots dig deep into

our heart’s soil.

 

Later like grasses’ seed  they scatter

send letters scrawled on paper bag sides

or postcards scribbled en route

to New Zealand, Israel and Norway—

their stories flower like bright dandelion

color in the middle of the greenest field…  tears

of abuse, a partner dying; weddings and hang-overs shared.

 

The grass? Fat heavy heads droop with sun-lust late

summer like the dangled earrings our sushi chef

wears—our turbaned Tzarina who presides over the front line.

Her black-garbed painter rules their stove, his harmonica

and her heart.  Shoe-boxes, snap-shots, a time in each history

sewn like seed. Brown grasses dry whisper to themselves.

Weight of winter snow presses all to sleep, the world flat again. Waiting for spring, we remember those children. We cry.

 

 

 

I held my first ever poetry reading at Arthur and Candi’s Sushi Blues & BBQs restaurant next door to Whole Foods in Hamiltonin 2006 or 7 before I’d even published a chapbook. Eventually, I moderated an open mic poetry night there which grew to feature a guest poet as well. People came from all over, poets desperate, as we so often are, for a place to do our poetry.  I also was given huge support by both of them for my budding art expression and what became an integral part of my career. I hung several one woman art exhibitions of my photography at the restaurant. They owned some of my originals as permanent parts of their walls. Candi urged me to try ACEO s and when I graduated from photos to pen and ink I was pleasantly surprised to start selling them on eBay.  Arthur was a frequent advisor and critiquer of my artowrk. Some of his advice stays with me every time I draw. For example, “Rache, you don’t have to put in all the spots on the leopard cubs. Our brains are wired so that you only need to put a few and let the viewer’s brain fill in the rest.” Several occasions come to mind when I was scribbling away, and Arthur loomed behind my chair to announce dramatically, “Put the pen down.” With drawing, as with poetry, one can fiddle it into obscurity. 

So with saddened heart I post this. For anyone of their friends who reads this and does not yet know of his death, he died in a car accident. Please do send Candi a note. They had moved to Nashville. She is there, I believe. Just message her some warm thoughts on FB if the spirit moves. There is no way that being left behind ever feels good.  

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