Monday, July 04, 2005

I just got a letter from my friend and poet Ed Galing. Ed is 88 years old. He has published in hundreds of magazines over the years, including Ibbetson Street. I published a collection of his poetry "Prayers on a Tenement Rooftop," some years ago. It dealt with his childhood in the Lower East Side of New York City in the 1920's. I call Ed every few weeks. He is an inspiration. In spite of his advanced years; an infirm wife, and all the aches and pains of age; he still churns the stuff out and more often than not finds a home for his poems. I am of the belief that his work keeps him alive...literally. His poetry deals with his experiences in World War ll, his years working in the Burlesque business, his family, growing up Jewish, the characters he meets at Jack 's Deli in Philadelphia...well, you name it. Ed is the poet-laureate of Hatboro, PA, he plays a mean harmonica, and he never tires of writing. He has the voice of a carnival barker, and he often alternates between being sweetly avancular and severely pissed off.I was suppose to film Ed this summer, but as fate would have it, my plans fell through. I hope to still do it, and if anyone out there is interested, I'll give you his contact info. Ed doesn't write for money, and at this point in the game he realizes he won't be a poet laureate. He writes because he has to. Ed is a true poet, and will be writing up till his last breath. There ain't too many better ways to go! Ed wrote me a letter recently. I'd like to share some of his thoughts.
"My wife turns 88, how time is going by Doug. Nobody wants to think of death being around the corner...but sooner or later...we will all have to face it bravely...not yet...not yet."" I am not so interested in posterity...nobody really remembers unless you are really famous...and so what?""There is no rhyme or reason to what I write. I have a habit of writing rapidly...and then putting it away overnight...if it still reads ok; I take a chance and send it out..."" I began to write around high school. I lived in poverty back then. I thought writing was a way out, and I found out it's not an easy way to get rich.."" A genius I am not. No James Joyce, Richard Wright, or any of the Jewish writers I love. But I try to have my own style, and write the way my personality declares I must write."Ed invited me down to his house stating: "I would sure like to meet you in person. If you do don't expect much. I am now just an old man, with a small Cape Cod house. But we are friendly and loving, and I play harmonica. That might entice you to come. Take care Doug. Write me a letter sometime. It lasts longer."--Posted by Doug to Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene at 7/04/2005 02:01:00