Friday, August 2, 2013


from Poems To Fernando

It is written on the walls of the mountain
though I have not seen it:
I Love You Fernando.

Everytime a departure, another
eye not seen again, to make it easier;

But it must come from inside
this knowledge that I will live
      though you are not with me, here
      where I can see you.

Riding this broken road away, more alone
than even the beginning, when you were
Gone. Suddenly, & I clung to you, sending
messages direct to your heart
      where we are one
      & you must receive
these goodmornings to the clouds
this oneminded unrelenting reach to you
love & you only leaned over abysses
Holding onto pain : Let time not
change me! hanging into death
                                                    — til now
I have let flow a flicker in the sea
& it rushed forth giving,
so great is the need in the heart
for healing
      Love the prominence
      love the perfect measure
      we, just two frail receptacles
      & love the transforming splendor.

So this departure also
      how can I tell you good-bye?
Having loved another eye & leaving behind
this also, I am most alone.

Why is it I travel this road, this stark of sky
     & a musician walks to work
      his hands perhaps in his pockets
      music animates his step, gauging his life,
& go down over snows to a train
I don't care about?

Still alive, & yet to learn, or I would not
be here
penetrating pain itself to find you, uncover
what must be true
that you are not here and I must know
      who is half my life & deep
      as the blood runs in me.

What length of days before I lay down
      & the sorrow is turned upon itself,
that its depth be the source of joy
and I rise, unsevered?

                                                 french alps / 1-66.

Janine's passionate poem to her husband, the painter Fernando Vega, who would die suddenly in Spain in 1965, was written when she was twenty-four years old and published in her first book, from City Lights: Poems to Fernando (1968).

At that time, a book of poems issued by a woman from the legendary Beat household was uncommon. This untitled poem has been extracted from Janine's personal copy of the book, with her corrections and additions. See pages 22-23 for the poem — the two lines under the line "& it rushed forth giving" had been added in pen by Janine.

Please retool your own worn and much-loved copy of the book.

Janine Pommy Vega  ©  Bob and Susan Arnold

self-portrait drawing of Fernando Vega

photo of Janine Pommy Vega by Kenneth Pate


Luster said...


So lovely to read this and think of the bond it immortalizes, your bond with her, the bond between you and Susan (do I remember that you both owned JP-V's book when you met?), and ours.
I donated an extra copy of Once in Vermont to our little public library today, another bond.

stay close,

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Hi, Mike —

Yes, one of the many things that clicked between Susan and me forty years ago was seeing she had a copy of Janine's City Lights publication in her satchel of things.

Ah, and many thanks, good friend, at donating OIV to the local public library. As a book of poems it was lived out in Vermont, built in Kentucky, and has now slid westward into Arkansas. Can you feel it? I certainly can
all's well, Bob

Luster said...


Actually that Vermont-bred, Kentucky made book resides very slightly north of the Arkansas line in Myrtle, Missouri, but folks from both sides of the line will be checking in and checking it out.

closer than ever,

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

States double-dipping, Mike, even better for all books and all readers!

all's well, Bob