When it comes to connecting the dots, more often than not, I can be a little slow, decades behind in fact.
For example, in assembling this upcoming chapbook with my friend and fellow poet Guy Reed, I attempted to gather up what credits I could for some of the poems included. “A Cup For Enid,” first appeared in for Enid with love, a festschrift for Enid Dame published by NYQ Books in 2010. I flipped again through the collection, and reread Donald Lev’s introduction to Enid’s life and work.
Again, Donald mentions in passing what must have been a grueling occupation, his time as a cabdriver in New York City. Poets have been known to work all kinds of jobs to keep themselves in ink and paper, and Donald and Enid were no exceptions. Enid even taught for a time at NJIT and Rutgers, commuting from their upstate home to do so. Retail and temp work were go-tos for me, but I also did ten years at Cosmodemonic Communications, the main source of my current solvency.
One of my favorite poems of Enid’s is also one of her most memorable, and considered by many to be her signature piece. It first appeared in a chapbook published by Cross-Cultural Communications in 1989 called Lilith and Her Demons. Donald reveals in his introduction to the festschrift that “Lilith” was written at a time of great turmoil for Enid, the end of her first marriage, and by implication the beginning of her time with Lev. In one passage, she says,
I work in New Jersey
take art lessons
live with a cabdriver
It has taken me twenty years to realize who the cabdriver was and is. Duh.
Partners, lovers, intellectual equals—Enid and Donald’s romance is my ideal. Except for Enid’s premature death in 2003, what more could one aspire to?