Sun, I'm happy to see you.
I'm a small child who has had pain and fear.
Now it's over for awhile and I'm grateful
for your company.
Come up. Cover my day with your glory,
and I will play at immortality.
-- Milton Kessler
We just returned from an overnight in Binghamton, New York, where David appeared as the Distinguished Milton Kessler Poetry Reader. This was a great honor for David, and it was an honor for me to be there with him. Kessler appeared on this blog when Jeff Oaks sent this moving post about his former teacher. And Heather McHugh picked Milt Kessler's poem "Comma of God" for The Best American Poetry 2007. Milton Kessler's reputation as a dedicated teacher endures, and we heard many testimonials while we we mingled among his family, friends, and colleagues. "Each day is still full of of amazement, aloneness, danger, and gratitude," he wrote. Of her beloved instructor, Camille Paglia said,, "Milton Kessler embodies for me an ideal of the arts in dynamic synthesis . . . Everything you were, everything that you had ever seen or experienced pressed upon the text in front of you. The class hour seemed to melt and expand."
We left our Binghamton hotel around noon today, and thanks to the out-of-date GPS that came with our rental car (a gray Buick Regal), we stumbled upon Turkish Restaurant/Sultan's Table (258 Main Street, Johnson City. 607.644.9030 ). We had come looking for a place called Curly's Coffee but luck was on our side. Today was the restaurant's second day in business (having survived a robbery on the eve of its opening!). Binghamton residents take note: the food is delicious, the prices reasonable, and the service friendly. We shared Turkish style red lentil soup (thick and spicy-hot), and an assortment of appetizers (stuffed grape leaves, baba ganoush, eggplant salad, white bean salad, warm flat bread). I can't resist baklavah; the Turkish variety is straightforward -- just philo, nuts, honey -- and satisfying with the last sips of the sweet-strong Turkish coffee. Our hostess indulged my request that she "read" our coffee grounds. [I need to stop worrying and I have travel in my future; David is in love (;-), and has happily embarked on three projects but is undecided about a fourth.] On XM-Satellite radio we heard a May 1943 broadcast of the old radio show "Suspense." Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester starred in a dramatization of Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders. And we decided that Elvis Presley sounds like Dean Martin singing "Memories Are Made of This."