Tonight, I’d like to enjoy Jack Spicer’s explanatory note to the dedication page of Homage to Creeley. The dedication simply says: For Cegeste. Cegeste from Cocteau’s Orphee, the friend killed in a traffic accident, revived. A tale of sorts, taking Orpheus, Eurydice, and Heurtebise as repurposing (to say ineffective?) guides through a new Inferno; sure, there’s a great deal to clarify.
The note says:
To begin with, I could have slept with all of the people in the poems. It is not as difficult as the poet makes it. That is the reason I was born tonight.
He wanted an English professor–someone he could feel superior to, as a ghost. He wanted to eliminate all traces of the poetry. To kiss someone goodbye but you people out there know none of the answers either–even the simple questions the poet was asked.
I am the ghost of answering questions. Beware me. Keep me at a distance as I keep you at a distance.
Cegeste died at the age of nineteen. Just between the time when one could use one’s age as a power and one uses one’s age as a crutch. (cf. A Fake Novel About the Life of Arthur Rimbaud). At 35 one throws away crutches. (cf. Inferno Canto I)
I love this: how Spicer uses this note as a way to deal with all the voice that he wouldn’t fit in the poem (or in this case, two-word dedication). Made funny by how Robert Creeley was so much a huddler of voice in his poems. (Hoarder even?) Spicer seems to leave a bunch of it for the notes (this dedication page, an obvious embellishment of the move). In this way, to pay homage to Creeley is to say: What voice do I omit? What do I do with it then? I will not let my babies die.
I move back to the book. Homaging away!