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The Afterlife: Letter To Sam Hamill Analysis



Author: Poetry of Hayden Carruth Type: Poetry Views: 76

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You may think it strange, Sam, that I'm writing

a letter in these circumstances. I thought

it strange too--the first time. But there's

a misconception I was laboring under, and you

are too, viz. that the imagination in your

vicinity is free and powerful. After all,

you say, you've been creating yourself all

along imaginatively. You imagine yourself

playing golf or hiking in the Olympics or

writing a poem and then it becomes true.

But you still have to do it, you have to exert

yourself, will, courage, whatever you've got, you're

mired in the unimaginative. Here I imagine a letter

and it's written. Takes about two-fifths of a

second, your time. Hell, this is heaven, man.

I can deluge Congress with letters telling

every one of those mendacious sons of bitches

exactly what he or she is, in maybe about

half an hour. In spite of your Buddhist

proclivities, when you imagine bliss

you still must struggle to get there. By the way

the Buddha has his place across town on

Elysian Drive. We call him Bud. He's lost weight

and got new dentures, and he looks a hell of a

lot better than he used to. He always carries

a jumping jack with him everywhere just

for contemplation, but he doesn't make it

jump. He only looks at it. Meanwhile Sidney

and Dizzy, Uncle Ben and Papa Yancey, are

over by Sylvester's Grot making the sweetest,

cheerfulest blues you ever heard. The air,

so called, is full of it. Poems are fluttering

everywhere like seed from a cottonwood tree.

Sam, the remarkable truth is I can do any

fucking thing I want. Speaking of which

there's this dazzling young Naomi who

wiped out on I-80 just west of Truckee

last winter, and I think this is the moment

for me to go and pay her my respects.

Don't go way. I'll be right back.






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