Amoeblog


francEyE 1922 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, June 24, 2009 05:01am | Post a Comment

Frances Dean Smith
, the prolific Santa Monica poet known as francEyE died earlier this month in San Rafael of complications from a broken hip. She was 87.
 
She was inspired by Charles Bukowski, whom she met in 1963. They began a relationship and soon after moved in together. Their daughter, Marina Louise Bukowski, was born the following year. But her legacy is so much more than being the mother of Bukowski’s child.

She was a winner of the Allen J. Freedman Poetry Prize, and was a frequent contributor to a variety of presses, large and small, like the Saturday Review, Chiron Review, Comet, and Blue Satellite. francEyE also published several collections of her work including Snaggletooth in Ocean Park (Sacred Beverage Press, 1996), Amber Spider (Pearl, 2004), Grandma Stories (Conflux Press, 2008) and Call (Rose of Sharon Press, 2008). Smith can be seen in the film Bukowski: Born Into This (2004), GV6 The Odyssey: Poets Passion & Poetry (2006), and other documentaries about the LA poetry scene.
 
francEyE was affectionately called the Bearded Witch of Ocean Park (a Santa Monica neighborhood where she had lived since the early 1970’s) because of the wispy gray strands of hair flowing from her chin. Bukowski fondly referred to her in one of his poems as Old Snaggle-Tooth. Here is some of her poetry:
 
(UNTITLED) "I WANNA KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO DIE ..."
I wanna know what it's like to die.
Will I see Skye? Will I really
fly? Will I never be able to taste tiramisu again
and are there pleasures after death greater than taste? Soon I'll find
out,
of course, but I'd like to know about it while I'm still
alive. This little pain in the middle of my chest
annoys me; is it trying to tell me not to worry? Well, really,
worried I'm not; I'm inquisitive. No
answers in sight, I believe, so I think I'll lie down and
close my mind to all that, think about
Leonard Cohen.
(Thursday, March 26, 2009)
 
SO LONG, WHOEVER YOU ARE
Today's the day I saw you die. It's
the day Obama won, so now I'll always remember,
Oh yes, I remember when Obama won, it was the day
I saw that woman die. We were sitting in the hall
across from each other in our walkers, resting. We
made eye contact, peaceful in the sort of eventless
afternoon when it seemed the only thing
happening was on
TV. Obama was winning, we were resting, our heads supported by
the backs of our chairs. Then yours wasn't, it fell forward til your
face
hit your chest; I gave a yelp; nurses came. Here, and then not here,
just like that. Mystery woman, I'll remember you, and honor you every
year on the day Obama won, 4th
day of November, 2008, his
victory day and your
yahrzeit.
(Tuesday, November 4, 2008)
 
FOR MY BIRTHDAY SOME DAY
to N.H.B. Sahoo

please,
make me a book
of pictures of dragons,
pictures of all the dragons that you know.
I would like to see a picture of the dragon of sunrise,
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon defender of all frogs and toads
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon of mercy
and one of the dragon of no mercy, too,
and above all I need a picture of
The Dragon of Everything and if there is a Dragon of Nothing
I need that one,
and then to end the book I think there should be a picture
of a dragon of excellent birthday parties and
one of
sweet sleep. Especially yes, I want to see with my own eyes
a picture of the dragon of sweet
sleep.
(Tuesday, August 15, 2006)
 

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