It is not in New York nor in Paris now, where we’ll
Find you; nor near Albuquerque, or palaces on the moon.
Nor in dog-voiced Timbuktu, though clearly
You wore Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, as you,
Closed by cancer put the pen down far too soon.

Not that 77 is young. But nor is it old any longer,
As the Aquarian age has been bested by what we
Could call the Octagenarian state, where those
Of your time and before are still working, writing
And singing, from Dylan to Delilo; not that this

Compensates for your loss, Paul; your look; once
Eqyptian sharp, later haunting, as your jewish hawk’s
Face, while handsome ought to stare out from the page
And challenge us all, as you first strove to do
With the poetry of your emergence; each one curled

And cryptic, and with every word wounding, as if already
Slashed by a Sage. You echoed Oppen, and all; Eluard,
Celan, Jabes. Spokes, they were titled, and I read them now,
Wondering at how conscious you were of the path
And progress of writers. Born in 1947, to be in both

Kent State and Paris and see society itself plundering
From the gold gifts of time, circumstance and location.
Is to know Paradise as the alternative to our actions.
Utopian in an instant you could easily verse and Virgil
Along your particular path through dark woods.

Whether they were in Germany or at Auggie Wren’s
Christmas corner; the conceits and concepts
And screenplays  often buried in books brought the goods
From the inner earth to raised soul, as sanctified
Within cities, through pale stares and stories

Locked within rooms, ghosted, spread across God’s
Breakfast toast and as stirred within the expected cup
of black coffee, cigarillo smoke singeing, and sadly
Sentencing you to the dead. Paul, you are your own
Novel now, what with your father’s absence while present

And your Grandma’s act of murder and of your son’s
Tragedies. About which who could write, but with son
And grandchild gone will you see them, as those tales stay
Uncharted, for sometimes life’s darkness crests its own
Shattering frequency. Better then to construct your own universe,

Your own museum-arena, as your cities rose like Atlantis
As we would want or wish it to be; with bright boulevards
Borne beneath New York’s subway system, and your own
Babel Towers working unheard as with Louis Wolfson,
Phobic to English, the ghost in the locked room,

Haunting, howling and hiding in another language –
French to crawl free. You gave us Charles Reznikoff.
And restored Laura Riding.  Like Jabes, you created
Your own Book of Illusions and Questions and worked out
The wit of Lou Reed. You authored that entirely singular style

From Squeeze Play to Baumgartner: metaphysical,
City-misted, you were the king of white spaces,
Bataille and Beckett bred, you pursued,
What all writers want: that special seat at the dias,
Which like Reznikoff’s common table,  and John
Cassavetes’ stripped room contained the world’s things,

As your early hungers growled in a garret, and you
Scratched at stone and wove writing that made your
Antique typewriter a loom. You were the modern writer for me.
Your first fictions defined that. The New York Trilogy
Was a totem that I would read every year. And then that

Great run of books, that race of mystery and enchantment,
From The Music of Chance to Leviathan, Oracle Night,
To the tears of the old blind lady in Smoke, for whom
Harvey Keitel splits a chicken, to Mr. Vertigo’s prose primed
Playground and Hector Mann’s frozen light. You wrote

For the wind that Kafka felt at his collar; which was part
Of Celan’s stance, Conrad’s darkness, Ashberry’s air,
And Nin’s night. The City of Glass pierces most
Ad your work was both blood and bandage. I see you still,
Large eyes staring, low voice murmuring,

Another description, true tale, or modern fable,
Mouth muttered, whispering private wisdoms for mankind’s
Furthering. I didn’t know you had died. And synchronistically
Having read your last book at the time of your leaving
Had recently placed your entire oeuvre together.

It stands in my room now, a word tower
From which to see the wracking world as it is; still full
Of mysteries, Paul. So, let me honour you, Mr. Auster.
You were one of the first I discovered when I was a child.
Now I quiz whichever author’s up there, or behind here,

Or above us. They should have let you keep writing.
Your books are beautiful. Each tome towers.
You made the mind and idea echo fire and in this
Toast and cocktail glass from my city, made reading
Both thirst and hunger as you lent each line
                         Of fading light spark and fizz.




                                                                                                               David Erdos 21/6/24






This entry was posted on in homepage and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I HONOUR AUSTER

    1. Fabulous tribute David. Thanks a lot. Yes. “they should have let him keep writing”. (I am about to start reading Leviathan). Keep on writing. Vv

      Comment by Vanessa Vie on 23 June, 2024 at 9:18 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.