Poetry News

Brief Memory of Victor Martinez from Author Peter Orner

By Harriet Staff

New at The Rumpus: Peter Orner remembers Victor Martinez (who passed away last year, and happens to have a library named after him). After beginning with a poem from Anna Akhmatova, Orner writes his brief tribute:

I am not a poet and this is not a gift. When you fell down in the parking lot in front of the free acupuncture place you no longer had the strength to be embarrassed, and it wouldn’t have been your style anyway. If it had been me who’d fallen, if it had been me who’d been too weak to take a single more step, if it had me on the ground on that bright, ordinary October day, you wouldn’t have blinked. You’d have come to me with your biggish hands and shrugged off my apologies and my shame at being such an inconvenience, and pulled me right up. When you fell I hesitated. I looked at you on the ground as if you down there was something I needed to remember, as if you were already gone, and when I finally did yank you by the arm pits, you didn’t mention it. You asked how far the car was. You said, ‘Lets get hot dogs.’ It is a lie when I say in the safety of being alive that I wish it had been me on the pavement, the sort of easy lie you detested. I wish it had been me on the pavement. At least you’ll know I’m thinking of you now, today, another October, which even you would concede isn’t nothing. Damnit it, Vic, at least give me this: I wish the car had been further and that we were still walking towards it.

Originally Published: October 9th, 2012