Mel Lyman
from Mirror at the End of the Road

January, 1963, Bowery loft, New York

With rue my heart is laden
for golden friends I've had
for many a roselipped maiden
and many a lightfoot lad*

Do you remember that poem? It has been going through my mind chanting and mourning and I don't even know where I read it. I'm oh oh so lonely and Ebon is leaving in the morning and I just said goodbye and Helen almost cried and Steve and I just said goodbye and I called you and you were out and the pain is so painful. Everything is always happening and everything is always changing at once. So so many goodbyes have I known. Goodbye tears and memory tears and future tears and swallowed tears.

God I'm really going through it tonight. Anticipating your phone call at 2:00 a.m. and it's only 9:00 p.m. now and I've got to hear from you and hear you say you love me and Ebon and Steve want me so badly to make the trip with them and I'm going through age changes and wanting everybody I love all together in one room and baby I will cry in a few minutes because things have to change and I can't stop them and I need you now and you aren't here and my wife needs me and I'm not there and so many people hurting and going and not knowing and leaving and not seeing and things pulling me so many directions at once wow I hate to be alone at times like this don't you understand I need you with me now because I only do.

Later - Baby hello and how is Theodore and kiss dear Steve for me and I just bumped my knee and beans are cooking and it's 4:00 a.m. and I'm absolutely stoned behind a natural life high which I certainly don't lead being all at once involved in so many internal conflicts and loving many men and women God where can I go I'm really hurting for a slow easy relaxed month of recuperation and love and food and lovefood and care and understanding and no phones or doorbells or buses or subways or red lights or landlords or I surely will die of overexposure oh Judy I need a rest I can't absorb much more my love sponge is saturated.

Just returned from phoning you at Michael's to an Ebonless loft, a catless loft, a Rayless loft. Maybe I'm not here either. Come in John Nebal to ease my mind but how can we really dig the babble alone. Where am I? Steve Trussel in Waltham? Ebon Given in Rambler? Michael in Village? Len in bed? Let's see, my name is Driddleberry Fiddlepoo. I don't eat and I don't sleep. I walk the streets and wonder who calls "Frankie" and where is Ira and where are my songbooks and where is Michael and why is Ramotsky in El Paso while I'm in New York and where can I get some bread and what happened to the music I once could play and why does Tom get drunk every night and what did Steve mean by his parting remark and where is Judy, I've been expecting her for days and leaving the front door unlocked and now that Ebon is gone Michael will never get to snap the flicks he wanted of all of us in the loft what will Helen do and how can I comfort her, why isn't Ray in love with Carol and will he really join the Merchant Marines and ship out next month I miss the cat and why does Len ask me what happened to my music I once could play and how will I ever square the post office and play for the girl Michael dug at the Ramotsky exhibit and now a phone bill along with a bus ticket and the rent is due and Mario misses his daddy and is losing weight and everybody I know is going to the west coast why can't Judy and I settle things once and for all I have a dangerous capacity to love too many people at once and want to dig everybody all the time and so I cry because I can't be everywhere doing everything like one big soul though who knows and we must dig Woody and Gary and Ira and so so many things together oh life you are so big and so overwhelming why do I hassle you?

[* A.E. Houseman [1859-1936]: To an Athlete Dying Young from "A Shropshire Lad" (1896) 54, st. 1.]

Mel Lyman