Saturday, August 12, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle


In Memoriam: Jim Simmerman

It was only a semester
I was lucky to know you,
have a glimpse
into that Pisces soul,
know those crinkly eyes
that gap-toothed grin.
Only a semester to learn from you
where words could take me,
sear me, bless me, kickass
to change the world around me.

You knew, Jim,
and you probably wouldn't think
this was a great poem (it isn't)
but you would pick up every word,
examine it's strength, find it's weakness,
tell me the good stuff about it
and about me--in my new poet's hat
till I believed--in the words
and myself. It's not a great poem, Jim,
but you were a great poet.
Must be the moon's a jealous lover
'cause she's got you now.
Lucky moon.

Regent's Professor Jim Simmerman, of
Northern Arizona University, was the author
of five collections of poetry, including: Once Out of
Nature; Home; American Children; Kingdom Come;
and Moon Go Away, I Don't Love You No More.

Here's one of his:


Maybe it's different
with you.
How I grew up
there was always some kid
bigger than me, some lug,
some stupe, some Ronnie Boone
with fuzz over his lip
and those muscles you get
squeezing tennis balls,
skulking on the playground
before home room or glued
behind some trees somewhere
I have to pass alone
and-boom-he's on my chest
like a stump,
slapping me daffy, his knees gouging
gopher holes in my arms
as he croons take it back,
so soft and close and sweet
he could be telling me
a secret or kissing me on the mouth, take it back
if you know what's good for you.

Somethings I did I didn't
take back I could
say one, embarrass us for all time. Then you
could take your turn,then
somebody else, until
the bullies inside us
get bored and go home;
till we're each of us smack
on his back by himself
in the same stupid life,
and we do it again--
the whole thing pathetic
as a push-and-go-round
where I stick to my guns,
and stew, and spin-the same
tune repeating itself,
the same verse, the opus
of Ronnie Boone: take it
back, take it back if
you know what's good for you.
Which I don't though I do.

- Jim Simmerman
Moon Go Away I Don't Love You No More
Miami University Press (1994)


Blogger Ralph Murre said...

My sympathy goes out to you -- if he helped fashion your poet's hat, we all owe him a great debt and we all have suffered a loss.

- R.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Bruce Hodder said...

Both are good poems, Sharon.
Jim sounds like an interesting character. The photo catches the sadness of your loss beautifully.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Sharon Auberle said...

Thanks to both of you. the saddest thing is, I was always gonna go back and see him, show him new work, listen to him play at the Bookfest--all that good stuff. Except I didn't. Except I thought there was always plenty of time. Except there wasn't.
If you have time, check out more of his work online. I think you would both like it and relate to it.

6:56 AM  

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