Cover to Cover with Jack Foley

Cover to Cover with Jack Foley – June 27, 2018: Adelle Foley

As many listeners know, Jack’s wife, Adelle died two years ago. Her Yahrzeit is June 27. On today’s show Jack celebrates her memory with an interview he taped with Adelle in August 2005. The interview features Adelle’s work rather than the work they presented as a team, which was usually written by Jack.
Poems by Adelle can be found in her book, Along the Bloodline (Pantograph Press/Goldfish Press).  Dana Gioia writes, “Adelle Foley has taken the miniature form of the haiku and used it as the building block to create short lyric sequences of evocative power and memorability.” Michael McClure writes, “Adelle Foley’s haikus show us humanity. Their vitality and imagination shine from her compassion; from seeing things as they truly are.”
These are poems that came from a wonderful trip Jack and Adelle took to Syria in 2003:
I am afraid for
Our friends in Syria in
These days of turmoil
The incessant horns
Don’t clear traffic jams on the
Streets of Damascus
Step off the high curb
Follow a native between
The cars to safety
The traffic police
At major intersections
Smile and say “welcome”
It’s like Mexico
Don’t drink water, eat only
If cooked, canned or peeled
They walk arm in arm
Only one wears a headscarf
On their way to class
National Museum
Museum artifacts
Strewn about the garden or
Propped against the wall
With “Lonely Planet’
You find the old synagogue
Murals on the walls
There are no Jews left
In Damascus. They left
When the borders opened
In the Castle
Crak des Chevelliers
A real crusader castle
Ruins of huge stones
We sit in windows
Of a chapel, picture knights
At a round table
Listen to stories
Of metal gates, boiling oil
Catapults, boulders
But the castle fell
To the Mamluk hordes who sent
The crusaders home
The Amphitheater
Decked out for a Spanish prince
Jack does a time step
I cannot capture
This magic with my camera
I’ve only my words
I am afraid for
Our friends in Syria in
This savage turmoil
And this, one of her signature poems, is


They were our neighbors
Torn from our community
How could this happen
How could this happen
Nurseries and barber shops
Sold at bargain rates
Sold at bargain rates
“Please, take the horse and chickens”
And the fields left fallow
And the fields left fallow
Crying for children’s laughter
Young lovers’ meeting
Young lovers meeting
Near barbed wire, guard towers
Boredom and hot dust
Boredom and hot dust
Faded memories.  At last
Soft voices speaking
Soft voices speaking
To those who did not witness
Utter disbelief
Utter disbelief
It will not happen this time
They are our neighbors
The sky is not black
It’s the deepest shade of blue
Behind the white clouds

Leave a Reply

Share This