Mostly Unavailable


Valery Oisteanu

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 117 in February, 2009.

My artistic circle is shrinking, each & every day
Friends are disappearing so fast, it’s hard to keep up
Why are they all suddenly vanishing?
Is it because it’s so very windy?
Maybe it’s the end of the golden post-surrealist era
Romanian avant-garde poet Alexandru Lungu, evaporated this morning
Dreaming of voyages from Bonn to Chicago to visit his friend, poet Paul Paun
Julien Gracq, a surreal philosopher, dissolved in the mist of France
Far from fleeting fashions and absurd social circles
Boris Lurie, the NY painter, disappeared one day in his own bed in his studio full of confrontation
and desperation
Leaving behind a big lettered sign shouting NO!
Anne d’Harnoncourt ascended into the blue sky of Philadelphia
Riding in the capsule of a giant silver air balloon alongside Duchamp
Aime Cesaire, the invincible poet, his heart stopped from writing revolution
Jules Perahim, the silent painter of dreams and nightmares
Whose wife refused to let me see him
Before his final words turned into permanent silence
Hanon Reznikov, poet, actor, voice of Loisaida, melted into the “radical lava” long before his time
Exhausted but not bowed, exalted but defensive of privacy
Bob Rauschenberg painted his last drawing and erased himself
Yorgos Manousakis, the last Cretan Greek poet, died in his sleep in Chania
His poems formed the symphony of patriots defending their island
Eduardo Donati, the Italian-American surrealist, dripped invisible paint over his artworks till he too became invisible
Vintila Ivanceanu, a science-fiction writer, expired in Morocco of unknown causes; he was once an innovator of Romanian poetry
Willoughby Sharp may he rest in peace, faded so fast in an anti-fluxus
The sounds of an unfinished jam set are entering my ears,
Bricks are falling from buildings into the garden below
Crashing the roses, the roses, the roses for those departed into eternity
These are the geniuses of our time, the last brainiacs,
The remnants of the avant-garde, elitist intelligentsia
Their images fading with the speed of life and death
Looking through a rearview mirror
Agonizing lights flicker in the depth of civilization
Where their works are mostly unavailable.