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For Anselm, waiting for a train

Tamsin, we've never met, but thank you for taking such good care of your dad and writing such a wonderful entry into his journal. I've been reading his book, Caws and Causeries, that I bought years ago, when it came out, then stashed in the bookshelf, unfinished. To my utter shame. It always made me feel sharp and smart and alive, to read your father's poetry. Why, I ask, am I so obsessed with minor chords, when Anselm's poems and prose are bright, visionary majors? It must be why I gravitated toward his poetry-- it levitated me.

Both of my parents died suddenly, while no one was looking. You can look into his eyes and hear him say "hi hi hi hi" and you should treasure that. Treasure that so we can all.


Anselm’s great aunt’s song from the other side:

for Anselm, waiting for a train


I am so intrigued

by his great-aunt's song

“from the other side”


I wonder, can he

make out the words?


It might be

his greatest



had I been there

(and I wasn’t)


had I known it was so urgent

(when it didn’t seem so)


I would have been


I am holding up

one finger in the wind

to touch you



it was so urgent

and now the time

has passed


Dennis Formento

Dennis Formento, poet and sometime free-jazz/free-verse performer (Ed Barrett Trio, Frank Zappatistas), lives in Slidell, LA with his wife, artist, teacher, and yogini, Patricia Hart.  He is the publisher of Surregional Press  (Ungulations: Ten Waves Under the Hoof, by Amy Trussell and A. di Michele, and Fattening Frogs for Snakes by John Sinclair.) In 2010, Paper Press will publish Cineplex, poems dating from 2011 to 2013. The sequence “Water” has been published as a limited edition hand-made book by Red Mare Press (also featured in Big Bridge #17).

His latest undertaking is bringing Italian cantautore and tarantella traditions to New Orleans poetry; in this endeavor, he is collaborating with dancer Nanette Ledet. He organizes the New Orleans 100,000 Poets for Change readings.