After trading a few letters in 2005-06 and a few phone conversations after I moved to Vancouver in November, Pete and I finally met in person towards the tail end of last year, in North Vancouver, where he lives part time. Not surprisingly, even though Pete's in his mid-seventies and I'm just a pup, we got on like a house on fire. After that meeting, I wrote this poem:
AFTER OUR MEETING: EPISTLE TO TROWER
The day was auspiciously fine;
Riding my Shadow in unusual sunshine
On this wet west coast in December
Simply sublime. Can’t remember
Ever having her out this late, much less
Enjoying the weather. After I crossed
The bridge over Second
Thru Dollarton, Lowry’s haunt, headed west
Along the tracks down Low Level, past
Those godawful elevators, looming
Colossal over the grain cars. Christ,
The pharaohs built nothing to beat em! The grass
Was green between the rails and the scent
Of rye and wheat’s boozy ferment
Entered my nostrils to lodge in my noggin.
(You and me both have distilled the cost
Of following that whiff too far, tobogganed
A little amok.) I thought of us and of
The women persistent in their perverse love—
Your Yvonne, so lately departed,
And my Rachel, better judgment
Bested only by the muscle of their hearts—
While I watched the densely packed zooming
Of pigeons above. It’s a sentimental
Lie that doves mate for life, never unfaithful—
But that does fuckall to disprove
The existence of endless love.
I was glad to find you as well
As can be expected, despite all you’ve lost.
Pete, let’s do this again before long.
Here are a few other things on Pete from the web:
AUDIO of me reading "Overhead Crane"
A short essay I wrote about Pete's "Industrial Poem" for Arc
My review of Haunted Hills & Hanging Valleys, Pete's Selected Poems
Carmine Starnino's review of HH&HV (well worth the read)
A review of There Are Many Ways