Sunday, March 29, 2015

Last Train Out

Never mind Dylan Thomas. There’s a really, really, really cool Beat poet named Ruth Weiss—not here but in San Francisco. She and Jack Kerouac are friends, and she has a lot of other friends too who are poets like Bob Kaufman.

I think she was born in Germany and they say she escaped with her family in 1939 on the last train allowed out of there. Someone told me that she and her parents are the only members of her family to survive the Holocaust.

Weiss and Kerouac wrote a lot of haiku poetry, which is a Japanese style of poem that use 17 syllables only. This year, I heard she started a kind of salon in her apartment, where writers and poets go to read and discuss their work.

A salon, by the way, is a group of people that are supposed to be kinda-sorta like-minded, whether it’s about painting or poems or fiction or whatever, and they get together and read, talk, write, argue, eat, talk and write some more. It used to be mostly rich people went to a salon but Beats aren’t rich and it doesn’t matter!

The only thing that matters is how you think. And write.

Never mind Paris! I need to go to San Francisco. !!!

Here in the Village we see all these guys, and sometimes women poets too, but barely. Just knowing there’s this amazing woman who’s writing poetry and talking about it makes me, just… you know. Hopeful.

I haven’t met Ruth Weiss, but I’m just excited right now to know she’s in the world. That I can go to San Francisco and meet her. That she writes poetry and that she’s a Beat.

I have to imagine what she looks like 'cause I don't have a picture.

In her honor today I’m writing my first haiku.


City on a hill
North Beach, San Francisco
Calls me to the dance

Haiku 2:

Door Talk

Opening my door
Inviting the sun inside
With a beggar's smile

Anyway. This morning I woke up and thought, what would have happened if she couldn’t get on that last train? What happened to all those people who missed it? What other poets did we lose?

Just the tiniest things matter, and maybe they end up mattering most, you know? Like haiku.

--Ruby T.