Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #6         Memorial Page for Donald Lev
Table of

Aid to Dependent Poets

The other night,
at a reading
in Greenwich Village,
I helped an old poet.
He was short, wide, dissolute,
a disreputable denizen
of a village that still is one.

He wore suspenders --“braces”--
beneath his faded shirt,
and a poet’s hat,
a Brooklyn Dodgers’ cap.
His hair was stringy, long and gray.

“I like this room,” he said.
“It’s like a railroad car.”
He had something there.
The room was long,
narrow, dimly lit, and red.
“But I don’t like how
they kick you out
before the next act.”

The poet had no front teeth,
but he laughed, anyway
--often, phlegmy, loud--
without covering his mouth,
a poet with yellow fangs
framed by a desperado beard.

I helped him navigate
the single step down toward
the podium and the mike.
He leaned heavily
on a big, gnarled cane,
as if to vault with it.
The step was small,
and painted yellow.

“That’s not so bad,”
he said, sliding down,
and landing with a thump.
“I got here early
because of the bus schedule.
So I already had a few.”

My role was to carry
his glass of wine (red).
He settled down
on a folding chair
at a little table,
where I placed the wine.
Retreating to my own table
in the back, next to the bar,
I waited for his turn to read.

That was the least I could do
for Art, to further
the cause of Poetry.
Aid to Dependent Poets:
This poet probably
has no dental plan,
one of many Americans
who lack health-care coverage
of any ilk, however poor
(the plans –and people).
These many are, in turn,
among many, many more
citizens of the world
who lack any plans, at all
-- or, for that matter, any hope.

But not this poet. Oh, no!
A gentle, fierce, very funny fellow,
he had a poetry plan.
When his number came up,
singing like a bird, croaking, too,
and still loaded, he had us locked
into the world of his words.
Singing, swaying, swelling,
he ruled the roost and room.

--Front Porch Review 2013

  Ron Singer __

Of Donald

I knew Donald Lev and Enid Dame when they lived in New York City. I had copies of Home Planet News when it was an actual newspaper. I would see the two of them at poetry readings at places like the Cedar Tavern. We would always say a few words when we met. They were movers and shakers in the "scene," but, more important, they were nice to me. And it was clear they were nice to each other. I miss them both.

  Thad Rutkowski__

LINDA LERNER: Donald Reading at Harmony

Of Donald

When I was your stereotypical young poet trying to make it in New York in the late 1970s, I had already had work appear in Home Planet News, and Donald and Enid wanted to meet me. They took me under their wing and invited me along to several poetry readings in the city (in particular I remember a restaurant full of ferns and a church basement). I read at a couple of open mics and especially enjoyed hearing Enid read her own poems there. The two of them offered so much sage advice; they really cared about my success, and I think they were concerned New York might eat me alive. I wasn’t in the city but a few years, yet all these decades later, whenever I think of New York City and the Village I knew then, there Donald and Enid are, sharing their love of art and two friendships that will never leave me.

  Vince Corvaia__

Donald and Enid
LINDA LERNER: Donald and Enid
Donald Lev Enters Into Heaven

The call finally came. I have to say I'm not considerably
surprised, so why should you be? I've got some people to see
but be consoled, if consoling you seek, that I will properly
miss you. Turns out they were right about the white light
and the tunnel, though I have the nagging thought
that at the other end will be New Jersey. As it happens
the part about the inability to take it with you also checks out.
I'll feel a little empty handed, but for the gift of myself, of
course sans receipt, so it won't be like they can take me back.

  Lehman Weichselbaum__

LINDA LERNER: Donald Reading at Harmony


'it was one of those rare
dark days in arles,' wrote
donald lev, then he stopped.

he did not want to write a poem 'for him returned from the dead.'

'i don't much feel inclined
to writing vincent van gogh
poems,' sd donald.

then he smiled one of those
donald lev smiles that could
light up the sky.

'here,' he sd.

'this poem
is for you.'

for Donald Lev, 5.15.36-9.30.18

  George Wallace__