I am now after a series of hectic and tormenting days
temporarily settled at
Lake Morton Plaza
400-South Florida Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801
My future phone number is 863-683-1608 (At present I do not have
a phone installed. The phone is still in the warehouse, but I
will try to get a phone by Monday. It is difficult to remember
a phone number I have had for fifty years, let alone a new one.
I must write it down and carry it around. Also, I have to remember
a new address. This upheaval has put a great burden on me. The
above will be my snail mail address.
The only time in my whole life that I can think of more distressing,
disturbing, and tormenting as these last days have been was when
I was 18 in the army.
My old biographical note, published so many times, is now obsolete.
The notes start with my living in an old decaying house in the
Tampa slums and described the ugly surrounding and ugly activities.
Well, the bungalow in the backyard fell down. The second floor
became the first floor. My car was crushed and destroyed. My priceless
scholarly library is now under the debris. A book dealer is going
to try to save some of the books from the debris, but in the future
I will be almost bookless. When I need information, I will have
to use the internet, or go to the library which never has a collection
as good as I once had. I have sworn that I will never buy another
book. I will have to depend primarily on the memory of my erudition.
I have some books in boxes in the Winter Haven warehouse, but
will turn over to a book dealer, and now I have no permanent place
with the space to store the books. How I have learned it is unwise
to save and cherish anything. I am going to miss being surrounded
by books. My books were filled with my notes which scholars would
have considered annotations and others, mars.
After the collapse of the bungalow, my house was surrounded by
a posse of Inspectors and police. The house was condemned as being
unfit for habitation and health (although the doctors have classified
me as the healthiest man even seen my age, and I have lived in
this house for fifty years). I was ordered out in six days. After
living in a house for fifty years, I was ordered out in six days
or face fines of $500 a day and arrest. I got some insight in
what it means to live in a land of freedom. Also, what happens
to poets when old in America. The poets are thrown out into the
The next six days were a type of hell on earth. I had to take
500 of my paintings off the walls. These paintings are now stored
in the Winter Haven warehouse. I do not know what I am going to
do with them. Another phrase of my life disappeared forever. I
wonder if all my paintings will be destroyed. I cannot afford
to pay storage on the painting for a long extent of time. I am
getting inured to having most aspects of my life destroyed.
I have the photographs stored in the warehouse, and if I can find
what boxes they are in.
I left, to be destroyed in the house, most of my possessions,
approximately 200 sheets, many miscellaneous things. When my wife
was alive, she loved sheets and squandered our income on buying
All my poetic publications and poetic papers are in the Winter
Haven warehouse, but I hope to save, and store in the closet space
I have in these two rooms. My over 5,000 published poems are now
boxed in the warehouse. I hope I can keep these. But all might
The saddest event of the hell-on-earth days was having to take
my 7 cats to the humane society. Donald Ryburn helped me, and
we both suffered. I still have my dog Pookie, but do not know
how long I can keep her under these transient conditions. I am
now cat-less, and there is a possibility I might be dogless. But
departing from Pookie, is too overwhelmingly sad to even think
about the possibility. At the moment, tears come into my eyes
when I think about departing from Pookie, and I have to pause
from writing. But during this ordeal I learned I can endure anything,
but doubt if I will ever be happy again. I will just endure until
death, and possible blindness( since I now have Ocular Degeneration).
The place where I now live says if I go blind, I will get free
rent through the army. I hated the military so much I had almost
forgotten I was a veteran of WW II. I suppose a seeing-eye person
will be hired to lead me around and feed me with a spoon. I don’t
know if it will be required for them to play the role of Milton’s
daughters and copy down my poems. I don’t even know if I
could still write poems.
My exodus was aided with the help of poets Donald Ryburn and Steve
Barfield, who worked until exhaustion. Jackie Turner and the hired
hands also helped. Greer Grant was present, and she swept the
floor I departed from.
This crisis and distress led to the break up of Jackie and me.
I was going to live with her in Winter Haven, but the situation
brought out the insight that we were completely incompatible.
So after a temporary stay with her, I called Donald Ryburn to
get me out of there. Donald arranged for me to be located at Lake
Morton Plaza, called a retirement Villa.
I was mistaken about my affection for Jackie, and even more mistaken
about her affection for me. But crisis brings out truth. She never
loved me. I wanted love so much that I was a temporary fool and
believed she really cared. She did not. So I am now homeless,
car-less, cat-less, and woman-less.
My dreams for Jackie and my future together did not correspond
to her dreams about our future, so I got out in a hurry. I could
say much more, but I won’t. Although one thing that shocked
me about her small house where there was no room for me to work,
was the hideous paintings that crowded the walls. These were some
of the worst paintings I have ever seen. I could not stand to
live among such bad taste. The relationship is over now, as I
said “Goodbye forever.” I just said the same words,
“Good bye, forever” about a year and several months
ago to a woman with gold twists for hair and driver of a BMW when
she wanted to kill all my cats. Well, all my cats are gone now.
I suppose I will never have the real intimate and close love of
a woman again. The BMW girl was an exquisite beauty, and I cannot
attribute these attributes to the pseudo psychic, the last woman
to whom I said “Good bye, forever.” Everything seems
gone. I really wanted love and failed.
I forgot to mention my opera collection, one of the largest. My
old LP’s are scheduled to go the book dealer. In the collector’s
market, they are worth a fortune. The tapes I have given many
to Donald, but there is still an immense collection under the
debris of the fallen library. I hope to keep the CD’s, if
I can find the room, for as I age, I will need music as I have
little else left. Since the joie d’ vivre has vanished from
my life which is now Stoic endurance, I wonder what I will think
of the music from Vienna.
As I have been saying, I believe I must be one of God’s
most beloved men, like Job, since so many disasters have had happened
to me during this year starting with a rash whose etiology is
unknown, a swollen leg still not understood by medical authorities
a broken rib, a cut foot whose bleeding was difficult to stop,
the discovery of a visual impairment that will lead to ultimate
blindness with the possibility it will take a number of years,
and this latest disaster of being forced from one’s home
and one’s possessions.
It took me from 7 AM to 1PM, the get this computer set up again.
Then three more hours to install the new access numbers, so now
I have some contact with others. I still have not installed the
printers, for the connecting cords to the printers are in the
I hope to return to poetry writing soon as I calm down and get
adjusted to an entirely new life style. I wonder since now I have
almost nothing what I will write like in the future. I do have
improved physical and material surroundings. I’m finally
out of the neighborhood where so many have encouraged me to move
from for years.
Now, there will be no fence to mend, after the vandals have damaged
it. No more city inspectors to order me to cut grasses. No more
concerns over trees and fallen trees. No more concerns over scattered
glass on the floor after someone has thrown a beer bottle through
the window. I won’t even have to worry about a leaking roof,
which I just had fixed. Now, there will not be any more roaches.
I will not have to repair the decaying porch, where I fell and
broke a rib. I won’t have to hear boom boxes playing rap
songs. I won’t have to mow the lawn.
My whole life style is changing. Now at Lake Morton Plaza, where
Donald Ryburn arranged for me to stay.
I am served three meals a day. This is a distinct change in my
life style because I never ate breakfast, very little lunch, and
if any, very little dinner. I have get up at six to make it to
breakfast on time. Afterwards, I take Pookie for a walk, try to
get her to walk around a lake where there are White Pelicans,
Great Blue Herons, Wood Ibis, coots, ducks, three type of swans.
But Pookie does not want to walk. She just wants to sit down.
It is a joy, just as it was in Bruges, watching coots swim in
and out of willow shadows with the shadows crossing their white
I am now drinking orange juice, eating fruits and vegetables that
was rare when I was alone in that decaying house in the Tampa
slums. I should get even more healthy.
The only problem I find eating here is the social life. Everyone
is so friendly, and I have to engage in conversations during dining.
Everyone is old. Not a young person in sight. It is strange to
me for some one who has spent his life among the young to suddenly
be spending it among the old. There are no intellectuals here,
so I doubt if I will engage in discussions of how John Keats’
“Negative Capability” anticipates postmodern Aporia.
This is the first place where I have even been where I am the
prettiest man. I am always being praised for my upright and energetic
There are two one-hundred year old men here, one always wears
a blue suit. This one is in very good shape. He drives a Lexus
( I hope I got the spelling right), but for old memories, I was
hoping he drove a BMW.
I suppose I will be accustomed to making ordinary and standard
remarks during meal conversations. One woman, about 90, said if
I were ever lonely to come up to her room. This is what I mean
when I say I suppose I will never have the intimate and close
love of a woman again. I love young woman, and a recent woman
poet pointed out to me that I have never had in my recent existence
a lover that was not 30 years younger or more than I was.
I also have weekly housekeeping service. This is a new change
in my life, I only cleaned up my old six room house on an annual
Once a week my laundry is taken care of. It come back stacked
neatly and on coat hangers. This never happened during my precious
existence. The clothes unfolded were thrown into a basket.
I have a brand new Maytag Washing Machine in the warehouse which
I plan to give to Mary, Donald’s friend, if she wants me.
Pookie and I stayed some time at her lovely house. I wish I had
not bought it for in two weeks the collapse came into being.
There is a full activities program, but I can overlook for I do
not play cards, bingo, or care for popular entertainment. Poetry
will keep me occupied. I Will have to give up painting, and there
is no trash anywhere near for my photography. Perhaps, I will
start photographing birds again, if I can get Pookie content to
There is transportation to shopping centers and their ilk three
times a week. I will have to go on one to get Pookie a chicken,
and myself, wine. I always drank wine when I had joyous thoughts,
but my wine drinking at the current moment has been curtailed.
I no longer need a car, there is a barber shop on premises, and
a doctor comes two times a week.
This gives some account of my new life. More details later. I
wanted everyone to know my absence from the email correspondence
or sending out the five poems a day was due to the city inspectors
throwing me out of my house where I dwelled 50 years in six days
and making me homeless.