Lester E. Afflick : 1956-2000 by Hal Sirowitz

 

What I remember the most about Lester Afflick was the poem he had in his shirt pocket. He'd slowly unfold it, hand it to you, watch your reaction. And if you had a puzzled look on your face and didn't understand it, he'd still act friendly, because he knew his poems were different. He didn't want to be like everyone else. He wrote epics that sounded like he had lived in another century. He was always striving for greatness.

He had a genuine love of poetry. He'd spend hours searching for discount poetry books at the Strand ... He loved discovering new poets. He liked Virginia Hamilton Adair's Ant's on the Melon. She was eighty three when her first book was published. He identified with how long she waited. "Now we Lay Us" was one of the poems he liked:

poem

I pray for those who weep

alone on a bed of sand.

One holds a star in his hand

while the desert nightwinds reap

his blood and tears.

This leap

we take to an unknown land

(God, can you understand?)

on the farther side of sleep.

Soul travel touches vast

Saharas, seas, and clouds.

Grief whistles through the shrouds

to fall in a bitter rain;

and I am a child again

in a night that maybe the last.

 

He was always inviting everybody he knew & didn't know to parties. At most of them knew more of the guests than the host. He instructed me to give someone else's name when the host asked how I had found out about the party. Every party he went to was like one of his own. He had to be sure enough people were there or he felt irresponsible.

If there wasn't a party he'd make his own by arranging a get-together with his friends at a bar. He'd apologize that you had to pay for your drinks, but it was the best he could do.

He wished Halloween was extended into a seven day holiday, because there were just too many parties on that night to go to. If there were two on the same night he'd go to both. If one was too far from the other he'd try to invite someone with a car.

He was usually the last to leave, staying until dawn. He was a totally generous person. He shared his friends with everybody.

"Outside the Fashion/ Explorers"

poem

Just as

in the movies

right after

they'd

devoured each other

instead of dinner

they labored over

for hours --

which eventually was

discarded --

they discover

the best thing:

a cigarette

in the awkward aftermath

afterglow

 

 

1992

 

"Lamplight"

poem

 

The lamps are low

the way they are when

you dim the lights.

She said she loved me

but her motives were

impure.

The war kept happening

in a far place. We didn't

talk about it.

We didn't talk.

 

 

1999

(this was the last poem he published)

 

 

Steve CannonTribes