Monday, August 30, 2010

Aimless Reading: The J's, Part 9 (Ronald Johnson)


radi os
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Johnson, Ronald
radi os


Sent to me by the publisher.

1998: I moved into a second floor apartment in the back of a house at 39 College St. in Buffalo on August 1.

You entered the stairs on the side of the house and the door to the apartment opened into the kitchen. The kitchen had a classic Buffalo built-in pine breakfront that rose all the way to the ceiling, with glass-fronted upper cabinets, a countertop and wooden drawers below. I think there was even a flour bin. The floor was covered in old yellowish linoleum and an old porcelain one-piece sink with a dishwashing tray stood on one leg in the corner. I had just enough room to place a small table next to the window. Next to the refrigerator a wooden door opened to a small pantry and next to the stove a doorway led to a small, narrow corridor, with wood floors and wainscoting.

First door to the left off the hallway was to the bathroom, about which I remember nothing except it had a claw foot tub and a tiled floor. The hallway ended at two doors, the one to the left leading to the living room and the only heating source in the whole apartment, a very expensive gas wall unit (expensive to operate, that is). Dark blue wall paper with some kind of minimal, gold and white and pink flower pattern covered the walls. It was very dark.

The door to the right led to my bedroom/office. It too had been wallpapered in a pattern not unlike the cover of Ronald Johnson's book. I asked the landlord to paint over it before I moved in -- she obliged. I had a wooden platform queen bed inherited from a NY roommate. I bought a slightly damaged table at Pier 1 for almost nothing and used it for a desk -- I still use it.

I lived alone, but the downstairs apartment was occupied over the years by several poet friends, all of whom became de facto housemates -- Jonathan Skinner lived there for a year, followed for a summer by Aaron Skomra and Michelle Citrin and finally Chris Alexander, who continued living there for several years after I left.

The relationship I spoke of in the previous post ended in the middle of winter and I also got rejected by the PhD program at UB. For whatever reason, I decided to stay one more year to either get into the program or finish my MA. I did get in the second time around, thanks to Creeley and Bernstein and Howe, who all helped usher my application through the process, and I ended up staying in this apartment until 2001, when I met Lori and we shacked up together on Ashland Ave.

Too much formatting in radi os for me to work on it this morning. You can explore the work of Ronald Johnson starting here:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=3519

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