NOB HILL--Gene Frumkin, Poet and UNM creative writing teacher, died Feb. 18th. The notice of his death appeared only yesterday, March 2nd. He was 79.
I didn't ever have Gene as a teacher, but for the last few years I would run into him about suppertime in Mannie's restaurant. We did know each other from mutual acquaintances, specifically poets Diana Huntress and Dianne Duff.
The title of his 1998 book has to be one of the best titled books ever...and certainly worth thinking about in terms of his passing: The Old Man Who Swam Away and Left Only His Wet Feet. We still have those wet feet of his, several volumes of them.
I last heard Gene read at the Robert Creeley Memorial in September of 'o5. I couldn't get a good picture of him in the dim light. I hope the following poem from Santa Fe Broadside will serve even better.
Let the Lines Stand
It will be hard to erase each other
now that she is a beauty in my lines
I had no longer thought to find there.
Even should she move to another vision
of herself and me, I have her written
in immovable ink through my mind’s
open spaces, where she can be at ease
in her dreams, and mine. This affinity
subverts in thought other obligations
thicker than easy passage from now to then.
Our words are the clasp that holds us
together, but after they are all spoken
what can engender in us a certain place
wherein we can see each other a step up
from limbo? Patience. Let the lines stand
as long as they can. When they fall,
even then, I will hold her, speechless,
the lines still there, still held to their page.
Copyright © 2006 Gene Frumkin