Cover to Cover with Jack Foley & Nina Serrano

Cover to Cover with Jack Foley and Nina Serrano – September 4, 2019

When the summer winds down, when we fall to Fall, when the color of the leaves whispers, “Mortality,” who should come round but Serrano and Foley, harbingers of fol-de-rol and fancypants. They are at the ready with a pun, a stun, but not with a gun. They wish to scare the bejeebers out of a Gloom Gus; they want to empty out a bus full of Critical Clarences; want to open us up to the Spring in the Fall.


Here is Nina:



            Roberto Fernandez Retamar


My friend has died tonight

as I will one day

I feel the empty space of his absence

His poet’s words float around me

Only a few weeks ago I wrote my last words to him

though probably never received

When we first met 50 years ago

in Mexco City en route to Cuba

I asked him for the name of a color to dye my hair

already lighly threaded with silver

he told me the translation of “chestnut” from English to Spanish

After the beauty parlor he complemented me on the color

We dashed around Mexico and met up soon after

in Havana again and again

Years would pass

until my hair was naturally all gray

I translated his poems

We discussed my choice of words

A revolution in Nicaragua and we met again and again

at international literary occasions

The last time I saw him he came to California

My hair was turning white

I made lunch for him and his woman companion

He thanked me and approved again my translations

Not knowing the woman was his wife

I mentioned a poet, his former lover’s name

I was surprised when he denied any relationship with her

But then later realized the woman now with him

had been his wife all along

What a blunder

I sent a letter to apologize

but since our countries were on bad terms

the letter never arrived

I tried sending it with a traveler

but again my apology never arrived

and then years passed

and the issue faded

then only weeks ago I sent him

my words of congratulations

for his latest prize

that probably were never received


There are tears in my eyes tonight from this sad internet news

But I am not sorry

His life was long

with much reason to feel fulfilled

Yet this absence hurts

Our lives and our era fade

leaving me feeling so lonely—

—I am so glad he liked my translation


And this is from Jack:





I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree in the small cabin builder of Clay and waffles and 1819 Roseville I haven’t found a home for the honeybee and live alone with the baby loud glade and I still have some peace there for peace comes dropping slow dropping from the videos of the morning to where the cricket sings her midnights all the glimmer I don’t wanna purple glow and evening full of the limits wings I will arise and go now for a Waze night and day I hear lake water lapping with Lowe’s sounds by the shore while I stand on the road workers or on the pavement grave I hear it in the deep hearts core



My love is like a red red rose that’s newly sprung in June on my love is like a melody that sweetly play you didn’t tune as fair I found my bunny and I was so deep in love and I and I would love this still my dear did all the sea is getting dry and all of the sea is going to ride my deer in the rocks melt with the sun I will love this still my dear on the sands of life shall run and fair the well my only love and feel and I will come again over the world word 10,000 miles.



To be or not to be that is the question whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows about rages fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them to die to sleep no more and by asleep to say we end thee hard ache and the thousand natural shocks that flashes over to this and consummation devoutly to be wished to die to sleep to sleep per chance to dream hi there is the rub or in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause where is the respect that makes calamity have so long life for who be of the website and score is of times your press is wrong the proud man is constantly the parents of despise it love the laws the lady the insulins of office and this burns that patient merit of the unworthy him takes when he himself might his “haters make with a bear but can who would photos bear the ground and sweat under where we live but that’s the dread of something after death the undiscovered country from was born no traveler returns puzzles the well and makes us rather bear that was hills we have them fly the weather is that with no not off that’s conscience stuff makes cowards of us all and that’s the native you of resolution is sickly door with the pale cast of thought and that their prices of great Pitchin moment with this regard their current turn a ride and lose the name of action so off to now is a fair field her name in the eye or a sentence be all my sins remembered


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