From the miscellaneous drawer

by Anne Swenson

Among the reminders of friends is a wood plaque on my wall. It says: “Old friends take a long time to create.”
It was given to me by a friend. I was reminded of her with the notice that soon she would be 76, if she had not died at 75 or 74.
An accomplished piano player, she had played in Alaskan clubs and my music room. But she hadn’t always been easy to find in Ely.
She chased mind goblins until her life slowed down.
More recently I’ve heard from an artist friend, Stephan Krasemen from Canada. We caught up on the changes in our lives as we age.
Quick notes have come from Bob Columbo in Brazil, and Kent Worley.
My biggest and best surprise was from artist and cartoonist Bill Baron in Taos, New Mexico. We were friends in an Illinois high school long ago.
He had just refound an old poem of mine entitled “Each Time.”
I hankered after the post-war Paris, the world of Sylvia Beach, James Joyce and Rue de I’Odeon.
And I was too late.
I yearned to touch upon the jazz world of Bricktop in Rome and learned that Rome had become a Mecca for movie stars and tourists and I was too late.
In San Francisco I arrived just as the Beat Generation
Howled upon the world’s stage and modern music sounds
Enticed disconnected listeners to small intimate clubs
Where the music accumulated in their psyche.
It seemed I was again too late for that
Which had engendered, had birthed a sound.
The years which followed crumpled up my life,
Pushing me to the edge of my existence, working to make me more malleable,
More adaptable to everyday living.
But when it was done, when the pummeling was accomplished.
It was not enough. And now, though this not Paris or Rome, nor San Francisco or London,
It is where I need to be
And it is time.