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This is Jacket 12, July 2000   |   # 12  Contents   |   Homepage   |   Catalog   |

Carl Thayler

Remembering Paul Blackburn

The new baby Paul mentioned in the JOURNALS, The Blue Mounds Entries, my daughter, Emily, is now 28 yrs old and a mother. Carlos T. is a few years older & I imagine has a family of his own. Emily was only months old when Paul died.

I recall Joan’s phone call, the flight to Syracuse, the drive from the airport with his sister to Courtland. And Paul over those few days asking those of us who came and went to fetch magazines from the bookshelf, and reading poems he asked if we remembered this one, that one, savoring each and Wow wasn’t that beautiful.

His love for those poems was beautiful.

I remember his kiss late the next night. I’d helped him back into bed, and he’d asked, ‘Do you know why we write?’ I’d been wondering about that and why, at the same time, I was finishing up a degree in philosophy and preparing to teach a study I enjoyed, but not overly. Certainly not anything I’d read to friends on my deathbed.

‘Because we can,’ he said. It was, I figured, the last thing he’d fail, long after family and friends. Faithful, at the end, to poetry.

On the flight back to my wife and child and the University of Wisconsin, his address to me in a Journal poem decided my withdrawal from graduate school, and soon afterwards, a marriage.

                           . . . We

all go the way we go
all the way  .  we
go, each his own
way    .    we all go
away    .    we go.

But never very far away, Paul.

You can read five poems by Carl Thayler in this issue of Jacket.

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