Aldon Nielsen

Post to UB Poetics

I got as far as the news about Dan last week and was stopped in my tracks—it was truly unexpected—I can't get to the memorial—but I will record one memory here—

I first began talking with Dan after he instigated a wonderful weekend conference during his time at San Francisco State—A couple of years later, Dan, Spencer Selby and I drove up to Crag Hill's place for a publication reading honoring the chapbook of Dan's that Crag had just put out. I was doing a radio program still in those days, and brought along my recording equipment. Whenever Spencer, Dan and I were together, there was fiery conversation. That much time together in a car produced a lot of sparks, one of the most informative drives I've ever taken.

As the reading got under way, I noticed a distinct ticking sound in my earphones. I asked Dan to take off his watch. He told me the sound was coming from his heart. I thought Dan was still putting me on, as he had in the car a time or two. He handed me his watch at last; it was digital—non-ticking—I was suitably abashed—The reading was tremendous—

Later that week, as I broadcast Dan's poetry to a South Bay audience of thousands, I sat there in the booth listening to Dan's wonderful work, and his heart valve. It will always be good to have that recording of Dan, but it will always hurt,

and I will always be grateful to Dan for giving that work to us

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