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Stuart Dischell

Stuart Dischell

Stuart Dischell met Thomas Lux in Boston in the fall of 1981, and they were friends ever since. The first thing they did together was to meet up with Franz Wright at the Bow and Arrow in Cambridge. Stuart is the author of numerous books of poetry, including the just-published chapbook Standing on Z and the forthcoming full-length collection, Children with Enemies. He teaches in the MFA Program at UNC Greensboro.

Notes Toward a Remembrance

Thomas Lux was not a young man when he died, but he retained the curiosity, dexterity, and vigor of a young poet.

He was the best friend I will ever have and listened to all the crazy shit I did or said and loved me and never judged me.

He did not invent the concept of friendship but did more to further it than anyone I have known.

He was aptly named Lux for his light and Thomas for his simultaneous faith and doubt.

He was public enemy number one against cant, pretense, and hypocrisy and fiercely opposed bullshit.

His vividness was too bright for sainthood (especially in the faze of his Hawaiian shirts).  

To the Left of Time with its double sense of title is one of his best books and his wisest.

The horse Thomas Lux rode on the dairy farm was named Sunday. That's why he gave his third book that title.

Tom's father, Norman, told him when paying in a restaurant to always leave the tip under the saltshaker so the money wouldn't blow away.

He hated when people referred to him as Tom not Thomas in print.

He would have made a great old man.

His example is best honored by kindness, generosity, and devotion to our art.

The Milkman and His Son

For a year he'd collect
the milk bottles—those cracked,
chipped, or with the label's blue
scene of a farm

fading. In winter
they'd load the boxes on a sled
and drag them to the dump

which was lovely then: a white sheet
drawn up, like a joke, over
the face of a sleeper.
As they lob the bottles in

the son begs a trick
and the milkman obliges: tossing
one bottle in a high arc
he shatters it in mid-air

with another. One thousand
astonished splints of glass
falling . . . Again
and again, and damned
if that milkman,

that easy slinger
on the dump's edge (as the drifted
junk tips its hats

of snow) damned if he didn't
hit almost half! Not bad.
Along with gentleness,

and the sane bewilderment
of understanding nothing cruel,
it was a thing he did best.

from Half Promised Land, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1986


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