Memories of Moe

Moe was a one-man welcoming committee when I moved here in 1967.
He let me know from the start that I was part of the tribe.
He was quick to take over at the counter when I came in
w/boxes of books to trade— gave me twice or three times their worth;
asked after the family, told me about his own
handed me a stack of whatever Free Poem he'd just printed
to mail as a gift to the folks back east, who didn't know from free.
He was a bulwark of radical sanity: calling community meetings in his store
while the hippies, police, university, business world raged and rioted
he out-grumped them all— growled the loudest in the name of kindness
of basic common sense & anarchic moderation—
a kind of sense-of-the-human sense of humor
that bullied us all into talking to each other.
"Wrathful compassion" we'd say now, tho he'd snort at that—
wrathful compassion with a twinkle, an off-color joke,
or later on a graphic description of his heart or his hemorrhoids,
his out-patient aerobics class full of old geezers like himself— vicissitudes
of family, friends, criminals, politicos, junkies— all the Berkeley tribe
he embraced, and kept on embracing with such gusto.

Diane di Prima