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Letter To Kizer From Seattle

 Dear Condor: Much thanks for that telephonic support
from North Carolina when I suddenly went ape
in the Iowa tulips.
Lord, but I'm ashamed.
I was afraid, it seemed, according to the doctor of impending success, winning some poetry prizes or getting a wet kiss.
The more popular I got, the softer the soft cry in my head: Don't believe them.
You were never good.
Then I broke and proved it.
Ten successive days I alienated women I liked best.
I told a coed why her poems were bad (they weren't) and didn't understand a word I said.
Really warped.
The phrase "I'll be all right" came out too many unsolicited times.
I'm o.
I'm back at the primal source of poems: wind, sea and rain, the market and the salmon.
Speaking of the market, they're having a vital election here.
Save the market? Tear it down? The forces of evil maintain they're trying to save it too, obscuring, of course, the issue.
The forces of righteousness, me and my friends, are praying for a storm, one of those grim dark rolling southwest downpours that will leave the electorate sane.
I'm the last poet to teach the Roethke chair under Heilman.
He's retiring after 23 years.
Most of the old gang is gone.
Sol Katz is aging.
Who isn't? It's close now to the end of summer and would you believe it I've ignored the Blue Moon.
I did go to White Center, you know, my home town, and the people there, many are the same, but also aging, balking, remarkably polite and calm.
A man whose name escapes me said he thinks he had known me, the boy who went alone to Longfellow Creek and who laughed and cried for no reason.
The city is huge, maybe three quarters of a million and lots of crime.
They are indicting the former chief of police.
Sorry to be so rambling.
I eat lunch with J.
Hillis Miller, brilliant and nice as they come, in the faculty club, overlooking the lake, much of it now filled in.
And I tour old haunts, been twice to Kapowsin.
One trout.
One perch.
One poem.
Take care, oh wisest of condors.
Thanks again.

Poem by Richard Hugo
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