Thursday, September 16, 2010

Writers Friendship, Lucy, Richard, Dan, Alan…

Trip on Sunday to Oakland for brunch with Lucy Day and Richard Levine and their friends, Dan Langton, a poet who teaches at San Francisco State, and his wife Eve, plus poet Alan Goldfarb and his wife Arlene.

There are times when things just really click and one can only give thanks… thanks to one’s friends for extending an invitation and taking the time to prepare and put together an event, eight people in all, five of them writers.

The event: Middle Eastern food, drink and a memorable sharing of poems, e.g., Richard and Lucy each reading a villanelle.* The poems (Lucy’s “Color of the Universe” and Richard’s “A Blessing in Beige”) so complement one another I found myself imagining each villanelle being asked in turn, “Do you, “Color of the Universe,” take “A Blessing…” to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, and each responding… “I do.” Turns out these were indeed Richard and Lucy’s wedding poems.

[*Note: poems by Dan Langton and Alan Goldfarb to follow.]

By way of intro I should say: Lucy Day (aka Lucille Lang Day) is the author of eight poetry collections and chapbooks. Richard Levine is a journalist who is now writing fiction. Their wedding villanelles first appeared in Blue Unicorn and are included in Lucy's latest poetry collection, The Curvature of Blue (Cervena Barva, 2009).


The universe is really beige. Get used to it.

John Noble Wilford

The New York Times

For Richard

I can't believe the universe is tan,

Not red or green or lavender or blue.

I feel carnelian when you take my hand—

Not beige like lima beans from a can,

But a splendid, electrifying hue.

I can't believe the universe is tan.

Rose and gold are what I understand

When I think of waking up each day with you.

I feel carnelian when I take your hand,

And like the universe my love expands,

Surrounding us with turquoise and chartreuse.

Can you believe the universe is tan,

A color desolate as lunar sand

And homely as a peanut or cashew?

I feel carnelian when we're hand in hand,

Listening to Perahia play Chopin.

The stars all turn cerulean on cue.

I don't care if the universe is tan:

I feel carnelian as you take my hand.

—Lucille Lang Day


The universe is really beige. Get used to it.

John Noble Wilford

The New York Times

For Lucy

Some stars burn brighter as they age

Like maple leaves and apple trees flaming up from green.

Alas, the color of the universe is beige,

Not peach or pearl or the palest shade of sage,

Not turquoise, as they once thought—so serene.

Some stars burn brighter as they age.

The love that we have is harder to gauge

But it too burns brighter the later it seems.

Does it matter so much if the universe is beige?

As a poet breathes sound onto a silent page

Your love bathes my days in aquamarine.

Some stars burn brighter as they age.

Let them light up our lives as we leave this stage

And fill our hearts with their triumphant sheen.

Who cares if the color of the universe is beige?

A bird in flight outshines its silver cage.

If the sky’s too bright the stars shine unseen.

May our stars burn brighter as we age.

Hurray, the color of the universe is beige!

— Richard Michael Levine

[see also:]

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