All my Teachers

Eulogia: Eugene B. Mihaly 1918 – 2002

I was dreaming about Mihaly when Frank called,
it was a late dream morning. In the dream
I had asked Mihaly if he would speak at my graduation.
“Certainly, dear boy.”

I picked him up at a hotel,
there was rubble all about. I was in a taxi cab,
I had not seen him in years,
how young he was —
I never knew Mihaly in life that young –
young thin dark, the moustache prominent and already drawn
he jumped over rubble as I approached. I thanked him,
I thanked him again,
“never mind dear boy,” he said.

The event was some sort of passage.
In the rubble of existence that wasn’t my making
there was danger associated with this place, what city I didn’t recognize —
it wasn’t Detroit not Jerusalem —
light bulbs strung over the street,
emergency lighting.
He got into the cab, I gave him my hand
and thanked him again.

It was just after the holidays.
I had worked late into the night on my pieces,
“who shall I read them to?” I asked Mihaly.

“Give them to me dear boy, work them every night
in these broken places, look around –
write them for me. The best things I have written
are sealed in a shoe box in the rear of a closet.
Dear boy, the work is everything. Read me your words,”
he said in the back seat of the taxicab,
moustached, spiced, long before I knew him
he led me to our meeting.

He sat back in the taxi
lit up his pipe, “read me every piece,”
then the phone rang Frank and Mihaly said,
“quit belly-aching, dear boy,
wake up and write about it.”

jsg, usa