Poem: In Memory of Ken Patterson

By: Keith Moul

in_memory

At its beginning forty years ago, this poem was formless and void.
I don’t remember precisely a sequence of first days and nights,
but with Ken there was energy of new light, separate from the dark,
big concepts unfolding, San Francisco streets, horns and screen doors,
babysitting his niece and honey Ianthe whose affinity was mud butt.

Time on the surface of the deep gets fuzzed up: we recall cool fogs,
but not actual street integers, not pastel Frisco pastiches, nor any one
of the Giants except Chris Speier at short, so soon after Willie Mays;
Watergate, but I’m sure neither Ken nor God had hHis hand in that;
caftans and bare feet, for which both Ken and Charlotte were at fault.

Ken thought in galactic terms, faced the meteors, unlike my terror
to face a trillion stars: I shudder even now to reason how beginnings,
whether voids or bangs can be unappreciated, perhaps left in the trunk
of an old car, the subjects of postal errors, or now undeliverable email
destined as dysfunction for the great recycle bin trailing the asteroid belt.

The old times were real. Ken needed them defined: notes, his symbols,
drawings of the space arc, mapped coordinates with the largest views,
left turns and right turns for the smaller view, to head into then return
from unusual or crooked avenues, dead end streets and parks of free air.

Golden Gate and the Planetarium, centers of Ken’s universe, omphalos
for the old Greeks, grassy and rhododendry for me basking in sunshine
cooled by ocean breezes while Ianthe rode to freedom on a statue of a horse.

These are credible foundations for lasting duration, not requiring mortar,
rebar, special license, nor education, nor bribes of city officials and cronies.
Ken, Charlotte, Sylvia, Ianthe and I came west out of pure luck: I scoured
plains for wagon tracks, Ken took Venus from Orion’s belt to etch a memory.

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