Elegy for Moe

Morris Moskowitz (d. 1997)

The old bookseller said most famous man in Berkeley and everyone laughed because it was true

A photo of him thick-hair'd & young getting arrested N. Y. City protesting prison for Quaker conscientious objector WW II

His Anarcho-capitalist growl kept both right and left off guard

My daughter calls him old friend he paid for her birth midwives, expenses-- sort of a fairy godfather, his attributes a cigar and the growl

Among poets and scholars everyone knew Moe runs the best bookstore

Downstairs the paperback mysteries high culture crowd shuns them but Moe tenderly puts them on shelves

Troubled folk off Telegraph Avenue, crazy, strung out or lonely
would stop in to borrow a dollar, talk nonsense hang out a while he's treat them better than well-paid college professors who came after books

Once Jack Micheline the poet dropped by, he'd just sold his archives
for ten thousand dollars, that's great Jack said Moe

Great, that's terrible said Jack, a plumber makes more in a month

Moe removed his cigar with astonishment
But Jack, plumbers are more useful than poets

Word had it Moe was a violin prodigy

Another photo, 1940s anarchist picnic and poets Mac Low, Di Prima, Duncan or Whalen would come by the store to pay their respects

Last time I saw him he'd noticably slow'd

"Someone told me I should go watch the ducks at the waterfront

These days I'm not in the store much I go afternoons to the pier
I like to sit watching the ducks."

Andrew Schelling