The Poetry Project

Remembering Jonas Mekas

Jeanne Liotta

Who will remember that cinema is poetry now that Jonas Mekas is gone? The house he built for us which used to be a courthouse, a few blocks south of The Project which used to be a church. He wandered easily up Second Ave from cinema to poetry and back again, stopping for a drink in all the weathers, a day like any other. There was no gate to keep. Every roundtable meeting in the back of Anthology began with a toast before any business. He was because his little cat knew him.

He couldn’t make the Marathon this year & I missed him, one less elder in the house, one less haiku film, one less shout of “My friends!” I remember New Years 2016 when he got up to read, and I was sure he said I wrote this in a cab from the airport on my way to the church . But I was wrong–he was already reading his poems, so close to life that they were life, just like his films.

Jeanne Liotta. artist/filmmaker/east villager. 2019

In a taxi on way to JFK
Watching rain drops
On half open car window

On wet sidewalk
A lonely bicycle wheel
Locked to a tree

The war is coming
I am reading a book
Cherry Blossoms

I am sitting alone
Looking through the window
My mind is empty

Late evening
Four friends at Kunstlerkeller
Talking about Utopia

Jonas Mekas (1922-2019)

#258 — Spring/Summer 2019