9 NE Ohio Forepoets: Dostal

Continuing a series I abandoned in April, I now finish with five Ohio Forepoets, those no longer with us bodily, but remaining in our hearts and heads, where their words reverberate.

Part 5

Cy Dostal  (1930-2002)

Five things you may not know about Cy

* He founded in 1973 the Poets League of Greater Cleveland (later the Lit)

* In 1975 he published his first book of poetry, Emergency Exit, where, Robert Francis said, “humor and anger mingle and interpenetrate”

* He founded in 1994, with Jill Sell, the Cuyahoga Valley Nature Writers Workshop

* Dostal served in the U.S. Navy air force during the Korean War

* A tribute to Dostal by Jill Sell, including his poems, is at Deep Cleveland


Six for Cy

by Diane Kendig

            “not a map of choices but a map of variations
            on the one great choice.”
                                                Adrienne Rich, Dreamwood

Sand between fingers and toes,
irritating, even grating on those places,
the webs we all came together in.

Hemingway said writers needed
a built-in shit detector, but shit, he didn’t say
it had to go off like a Geiger counter.

Soft-boiled eggs, white slavers, the elms
of Shaker Heights, moon roadsters, and doing
carpentry: don’t they conjure him for you?

But Jeez-us, just write
one true poem, and he’d grant you that for life—
not to say he turned the detector off for you.

This summer I got a message to call him, though after
we talked an hour, I didn’t know why—
till now: to say he was still here.

More like sandpaper at the dark desk top,
against the grain, lifting the dirt, letting
the stripes of tiger oak surface, suggest, and gleam.

(Previously published in Ohio Writer and in the CCPL chapbook.  Copyright 2003 Diane Kendig)


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