i first met frank wolfe at the writers' club at montgomery county community college 20 years ago. jeff cooper and i started words at ransom in order to publish and promote our poetry. jeff recognized frank's talents and suggested that we should do a frank book. i was reluctant since i didn't want to start doing other people's work. we hashed it out, and i'm glad that jeff won out. jeff would do the printing once frank and i had the finished product.
over many weekends and countless phone calls, my feets weren't made for color evolved. we published two more of frank's books over the next couple of years. more important was a lifelong friendship that emerged. we often discussed our poems and stories, finding ways to improve them. when in the fall of 2014, he sent me a copy of love and bagels, i recognized most of the poems. but "in charlie's basement" stood out. i joked how he managed to immortalize my dog, rocky.
frank struggled with many things over the years, but making friends was not one of them. he cherished all his friendships. he would often be frustrated when friends drifted out of his life for a bit. he knew that he could be a difficult friend, over the past couple years. we talked about how he should reply to a "so how ya doin' ?" everyone was well aware that the knees hurt. so the next time i talked to him he says, "i'm just groovy !" i said, "bullshit, but let's move on." we never did work out how he could answer that question.
i often told him his true talent was with the paints. he would do pictures that were a style all his own. from his words to fractures to triads, they were unique. my favorite frank painting, and i'm biased here, is the one he did of me. i didn't know that he was doing it. he took a pic of me from my daughter's facebook page where i was asleep on the couch and turned it into a painting. frank's parents gave it to me after his passing. i wish he was still here so that i could thank him for painting it.
( this is frank's painting of charlie scott )
we would talk about why we have to make our art. part of it is simply to get it out so we can keep our sanity. but often, we mentioned how it made us immortal. we could live forever through what we write and paint. as we grew from naive 20-year-olds into middle age, we realized immortality wasn't nearly as important as simply being remembered. i miss my friend every day. and have a feeling frank wolfe will be remembered long after i am gone.