December 11, 2017

Laszlo Slomovits

AFTER THE READING BY THE FAMOUS POET

He sat at a table in the bookstore signing autographs.
We stood all around, awkward, clinging, fawning,
and he was kind, quite patient, understanding,
and separate as a sun that keeps its planets in orbit,

until she walked in. Tall, gorgeous, not looking for
our attention nor shielding from it. He stood up, said,
“Excuse me,” and walked to meet her. When they
embraced it was clear they’d once been lovers.
Long ago. Neither of them hid or flaunted it.
They stood pressed together for a long time.

Stepping back, they held each other at arm’s length,
without hunger, regret, or words. Then they both
let go, turned and walked back, she to the door
and he to the table. And we continued standing near,
even more awkward, smiling, warmed throughout,
while he continued signing his name in our books.

from Rattle #57, Fall 2017
Tribute to Rust Belt Poets

[download audio]

__________

Laszlo Slomovits: “Born in Budapest, Hungary, I left after the 1956 Revolution with my twin brother and Holocaust-surviving parents, lived in Israel for three years, then moved to Kingston, New York, at age eleven. I went to college at the University of Rochester in upstate New York, where as a senior, I met my wife. She was accepted to grad school at the University of Michigan, so we moved to Ann Arbor thinking we’d be here a year or two—and never left. Perhaps because of all my traveling as a child, and learning three languages early on, inner regions of memory and imagination have often been more important to me than outer locales and their dialects. I’ve thought often about the effect of living here on my writing; so many writers talk about the value and even necessity of a sense of place. But all I’ve arrived at after 44 years, is that something of the grounded, pragmatic nature of this region and its people has combined with my underlying sense of rootless everywhere-ness. Voices and subjects that attempt to weave the secretly symbolic with the down to earth are what I’m always looking for. Throughout these years, working as a folk musician with my twin brother, I have traveled throughout Michigan, nearby Rust Belt states, and many other regions of the U.S. and Canada. At some point I recognized Ann Arbor as a place I could call home, for which I feel very grateful.” (website)

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