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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Luis Omar Salinas

Last Tango In Fresno

Midnoon and I’m between
a pastrami and a dream.
In love with bad love
I put out my cigarette
and count my blessings.
Bad kharma and no lover.
I want to seduce
the nearest woman
and run off to the
nearest motel.
But the nearest woman
is thinking of vegetables
and buying a gift
for her lover.
So I waltz down
the avenue
feeling great
and important
and bump into
a lesbian friend
who is out of
work and needs a job.
I give her five bucks
and feel
that in the next life
I’ll get it all back.

Omar had a mercurial or protean aspect about him, and he was able to toss off images as easily as tossing his hat into the chair. We were there to cheer and applaud his manifest talent, but we wanted to be sure that nothing was lost, that those lines would become the meat of new poems. I soon became Omar’s main editor and secretarial helper, and Jon Veinberg and I conspired to engage Omar in revision and organization when he showed up on our doorsteps. He knew there was work to be done, and he lived for his poetry. His work remained as arresting and inventive as it was at the beginning, developing and maturing with each book.

1 comment:

Manuel Paul Lopez said...

Thanks for posting the article. I've been waiting for something like this about the man. (sigh)