MARVIN MALONE (WHO KNEW A POEM WHEN HE SAW ONE)
what he had:
business sense, a sense of responsibility. pride without ego sickness. both sides of the brain, the empiricism of the scientist. the rage of the just. virility. sticktoitiveness. willpower, self-confidence (no need for committees). the courage to say no. the courage to say yes to what he knew would outrage. a tolerance of artistic vanity, self-doubt, bravado, bad faith, addiction, delusion, mendacity. a willingness to listen, to forgive and forget, to afford second chances. the capacity to keep confidences confidential, wisdom to impart to others, though who can ever claim it for himself?
good game plan that he did not abandon.
love of what he was doing.
the belief that what he was doing was worthwhile.
what he gave:
port in the literary storm.
a forum for the poetry of the people.
an armor against elitism.
permission, validation, reinforcement, all those good things that the educational psychologists belatedly find names for.
often a renewal of strength, of determination.
the possibility of permanence, that our words might be preserved.
what he left us:
the opportunity and obligation to stand on our own two feet.
the hunch (which would appall him) that somehow he still knows what we're up to.
when he comes to mind:
often, but most commonly when i'm typing up my poems for submission and i smile, "here's one that he would have liked," and frown, "i wonder if there's anyone else out there who will." and then, as he would want, i put it in the mail.
so many people search for it.
this search for personal happiness
becomes all their lives are about.
i was raised to think in terms of
accomplishments, for oneself or
for others, of goals, of striving.
rest was something for the next life;
peace was something put off till eternity.
happiness was a static thing to want,
an artificial and impossible paradise.
better to keep on trying to accomplish
what one has set out to accomplish
in one's life.
and yet, without seeking it,
and even now that i've quit booze,
or maybe especially now that i've quit booze,
i often find that, momentarily at least,
i am extremely happy, even quietly ecstatic.
and sure i get "stressed out," especially
when i take on or have thrust upon me,
more than time realistically allows,
but something tells me that,
in spite of struggle, strife, and tension,
and regardless of what the future brings,
i have known, on balance, much more happiness
than those who go through life thinking
that it's playing hide-and-seek with them.
...and an email received from Locklin when informed of, and asked to submit to the site:
This is wonderful news. What a boon to all of us who were associated with Wormie, to all those who are not already familiar with its riches, and to researchers into the literature of the second half of the 20th Century. And how well deserved is anything that highlights the magnificent literary presence and towering human figure of Marvin Malone.
I would, of course, certainly wish to contribute to the tribute portion of the website, and I will also do everything possible to make people aware of its existence.
As Christa has probably told you, I believe more poems of mine -- literally hundreds —- appeared in Wormwood than those of any other poet except Charles Bukowski, and in our correspondence I regarded Marvin as a father confessor. I’m sure I wrote something for the MM tribute issue that Christa published as the last issue of Wormwood. I also have a tribute-poem to him published as the penultimate piece in my full-length collection, The Life Force Poems, from Water Row Books. I will have to see if they are one and the same. I would be happy to have anything I have written in praise of Marvin included on your website. I may write something in addition to what I already have, but I would check first to make sure I would not simply be repeating myself.
Please give my very best regards to Christa, who, among other kindnesses to me, ushered into print my book-issue of Wormwood, The Last Round-up, which was in process of publication at the time Marvin caught us so off-guard with his death. I am still deeply affected by that loss, and always will be. He was the greatest editor of my work, though I have had many other very fine ones, and, as I have said, a deeply valued advisor. I’m extremely glad that you and Christa saw fit to contact me; I applaud your efforts and hope to be of use in furthering them; and it would be impossible for me to exaggerate the importance of the project you are embarked upon.
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