Sad news indeed that old friend and ally Ted Joans has died in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he’d been living for the past few years. Apparently his health, affected by diabetes, had not been good, and though there is as yet no clear report, that seems at the root of what’s happened.
What to say about this terrific, unbeatable and indefatigable person, wedder of bop and rhyme-scope, endless inventor of securing vision and wonder, primary link indeed to so much in this still phenomenal world, which is worth going to look at, and to hold on to with your own heart, once witnessed — what a wonderful story-teller, of all stories, all streets, all places to sit down and eat, with the great legendary persons of the past, the last he always knew, as Charlie Parker or Paul Eluard — or how to get to Timbuktoo, by yourself.
Here’s some links will help you on the way:
He was up here in Buffalo for a reading at the Central Park Grill just a few years ago and, to get the word out, inspired me as ever, as follows:
FIRST LINE FLIGHTS (Chicken Wing Expressed)
He’s back at the CPG again!
“Blasted with sighs, and surrounded with tears…”
All he needs is a few more beers.
“Careful Observers may foretell the Hour…”
Nobody watches the clock around here.
“Do not go gentle into that good night…”
If you got to go, do it right.
“Flat on the bank I parted…”
Flat on my back I started.
“Give me my scallop-shell of quiet…”
Then we can start a riot.
“Glory be to God for dappled things…”
Hey, that’s my coat!
“Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill…”
You old goat…
Anyhow you all come,
eat those chicken wings and have some fun,
when TED JOANS gets it on
at the CPG, Wednesday, May 4th, 1994 at 7:30.
He did, as ever —
and is still dancing somewhere.