Jack Collom / in memorial / in celebration / in community

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“I paused as the surrounding darkness
only made the incredible light   even more
various & glorious, there, up the stairs
& through the great glittering gate.”
— Jack Collom, from “A Sled in the Ozarks”

Jack Collom many things to many…and to the
mountains & birds he brought his many friends to…
we thank you in that chorus of  discovery…

We were in touch before Naropa  & the Jack Kerouac School of
Disembodied Poetics coalesced, landing in Boulder, and lucky we were that Jack Collom  was there on the other end to greet us, and join the great experiment of contemplative eco-poetics  and “crazy wisdom” lineages…
He was The Poet  Guide of the negative ions of the magnificent
spine of the continent and he was editing the magazine “the” and already in touch with poets everywhere.
He was with us at Naropa during our New Weathers themed
program and passed on as the Summer Writing Program ended.  His last reading on this earth during our opening week.
Keep yodeling into the goat void of becoming, dear Jack!
You are missed & remembered….
Anne Waldman

People of Jack

What to say about the beginning of our memorial except with the pure and simple presence of a doe and her twin fawns? The Performing Arts Center was teeming with people as every seat filled to capacity, the walls too, and even the hallway out into the pavilion. Everyone who could afford a good view of the stage could see a handsomely framed copy of his visage, shadow-boxed feathers one is sure to have seen by his writing table, and a heaping basket of “weeds” (russian sage, black-eyed susans, sunflowers, cattails, other thrush and fuss, etc) lovingly collected by his wife, Jennifer Heath.

Jack was further honored by readings and music from two of his children,  Chris and Sierra, children and adults who he has taught, poets he worked with, everyone a testimony to his epithet as ‘The Great Collaborator’.

Jovan Mayes, poet laureate of Aurora made an announcement with Val Wheeler and her students about a permanent tribute to Jack honoring his love for nature and habitats of winged-wild things (possibly a tree with bench?). If you are interested in learning more and/or becoming involved, please e-mail jackcollomtribute@gmail.com.

And of course there was yodeling by Josepha Conrad and Ken Bernstein, closed the evening for us getting the room of 200+ to yodel en suite in Jack’s spirit.

The Collaborative Poems:

written during the reception by all those who love, admired and who were loved and admired in return

I. Exquisite Corpse

The first line is always the hardest to write                                                   and the last is no picnic either                                                                        Picnics are my grandmother’s temple                                                               She always loved candy before lunch

II. I remember…

Jack                                                                                                                                   telling our class that                                                                                                       we were “too serious                                                                                                       for our own good” &                                                                                                   yodeled instructions

I remember after the ceremony at Naropa                                                      as we gathered for refreshments                                                                       and shared thoughts on Jack,                                                                                       I saw a woman from across                                                                                      the crowd, among the hubbub                                                                               she dropped her tray of food                                                                                       and drink.                                                                                                                             And as the crowd passed over                                                                                  her puddle of splattered                                                                                            purple juice.                                                                                                                   Each shoe tracking with it,                                                                                             a tiny sticky imprint of                                                                                                     the juice.                                                                                                                       forever-part of it immortal                                                                                             on their soles.                                                                                                                           As Jack stays, a                                                                                                               small imprint on us.                                                                                                     Forever.

I remember when the light sat                                                                                   so low it almost                                                                                                                 shook its shadow

I remember being proud                                                                                                   all the time                                                                                                                             to be American                                                                                                                       to be alive

I remember                                                                                                                  Jack’s poems                                                                                                                 everyone of them                                                                                                                 all at once.

I remember playing the                                                                                      “dictionary” game                                                                                                           where you get points                                                                                                     for the most liked                                                                                               definition without                                                                                                         regard for truth.

III. Q / A

Where’s my wallet?                                                                                                    Why do you search for it?                                                                                                 I lost it in the self I want back                                                                          Where shall I go now?                                                                                                    To the land between yesterday and tomorrow                                           What is Jack Collom’s favorite mollusk?                                                             Molly, of course.They visit every 32nd Thursday                                     What are the names of the members of Cheap Trick?             Nonsense, Enlightenment, Death, Togetherness… in so many words. What is the dove on the roof saying / so lonely and so often?           “Let it be, y’all. Or don’t” Then / it flew off…                                                         With all the money and                                                                                           feathers! / Now what?                                                                                                     a silver Chevrolet star, shooting to                                                                             Alamosa                                                                                                                             Mimosa                                                                                                                                 On a silver-backed / what?                                                                                               A silver sliver of star- / light. What else? (not a question)                         What happens when we die?                                                                                   We float up into the sky                                                                                         What do the sunflowers / gossip about?                                                                 Bees’ feet,                                                                                                                               Jack’s light                                                                                                                   Endless Acrostics under the soil

IV. Jack-rostic

J     upiter fan, we give

A     ll our love

C     oming home to make a turnip tart

K     abul is not so far

C     onsidering the fact that heaven’s / right here

O     ddly out of / whatever was / not, when however / it was / poetry … he laughs…  he laughs

L     ikely to let you rattle on, even as you blush…

L     oving lasting in a blue ocean of infinity

O     r just

M     uddy dust stars