well Max you did say once

on Grant Avenue in '75, "Keep love coming. . .

keep the power coming. . ." as you turned

from the crowd at the Savoy Tivoli forever

those raucous pals, the old queens, that dirty

fat man in the corner eating a pie


you chortled in this city of loops and

curlicues, enthusiastic at Minnie Can Do,

South of Market, hidden crevices

in the poems of the jitters, the tough

blues, you, starring in Jim Morrison’s film


every song of you illustrious, it turns out

you were another Jewish boy, boisterous flower-child

your wild loud silent sad joyful face

looking forward to what the poem told you to do


one night I came out of the baths

three in the morning my face full of scratches

and you were suddenly there in the donut shop

on the left side of Chinatown, we ate donuts

and drank coffee, insipid, the Clown Alley lights

blinking in my brain


you were this sweet immense unstoppable,

you said, “Man, we got to

settle down and there you recited

a poem on love, mother, father sister, brother,

not ruthless lust in a cubicles, what I

called “love,” you crushed the styrofoam as

you read, coffee ran down your arms


Max Schwartz, shambling, flying on a tambourine,

voiding the eminent, this is a huge synagogue

of mountains and vast rocky terrain, a Beat Scene

of vanishing tigers and dead chimpanzees,

we walked ‘long Polk one night exchanging

lines, memorized song, a spontaneous rap, yeah,

and there came poet Jack Micheline

with his sweeping gesturing arms who said

“You want so much, you want so much. . ,”

lifting the night, I saw your smile

like a bar mitzvah child all over again,

“Mama, Mama, I want so much. . .”


your charm was solidarity

in every crevice, on the lips

you would starve for love,

we felt it, all down inside your

sprawling heart.

 © Neeli Cherkovski 


Max Schwartz Obituary

Max Schwartz Max Schwartz, 71, passed away peacefully on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 at Elant of Newburgh. He died of Alzheimer's disease.
Max Schwartz who divided himself between Woodstock and San Francisco has been described as one of the mad poets of San Francisco …
I think you could say that Max probably contributed to the environment that eventually led to poetry slams and even hip-hop” (Bill Ganier).
A native of Brooklyn, Max was driven by a relentless desire for world peace and a great appreciation of peoples around the world.

Max was a free spirit even as a young boy. In the 1980s and 1990s he travelled the globe, participating in poetry festivals from Yugoslavia
to Iraq. In Baghdad before the first Gulf War, Max's poems were translated into Arabic, and he was hailed by all as a great American poet.
His travels were well documented in his exquisite photographs, especially headshots of ordinary people. Many of Max's best work have been
exhibited in the Fletcher Gallery of Woodstock.

Max made many appearances at galleries and coffeehouses on the East and West Coasts, attracting large followings. He was a frequent opener
for his friend the legendary Nina Simone at the Village Gate. Max is best remembered as a performance artist. With a strong, earthshaking
delivery his improvisations glorified peace and the need for us to embrace our differences. “He puts real spirit into his work…You feel as if you
can step through his photography and his poetry and right into your own experiences” (Ozz;). Max always had his cameras and lenses around
his neck along with a bottle of the hottest cayenne pepper. A strapping man the fifty or more pounds of paraphernalia only left him only while
he slept.

Before Jim Morrison gained world fame as the lead singer of the Doors he was Max's college roommate. An aspiring filmmaker, Morrison's only
surviving film is his documentary starring Max. Max resisted efforts to become rich and famous and preferred a non-materialistic life. He was
most at home on the streets, drawing large crowds around him as he spoke in his loud and expansive style. He was truly a poet of the people.

Max is predeceased by his parents Lillian and Samuel Schwartz and his brother Jules. He is survived by his most devoted supporter his aunt
Arlene Rosenfeld, his caring cousin Jeffrey Novack and friends Pierre and Terry Leroy. Thousands of others share remembrances of Max. He
will be interred beside his beloved parents on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 at Mount Judah Cemetery, 81-14 Cypress Avenue, Ridgewood, N.Y.
11385, 718-821-1060. A celebration of Max's life will be held at the Woodstock Museum this spring.

This obituary was originally found online. Published in the Daily Freeman on December 12, 2012

HYDRA WATERFRONT For Harold Norse by Neeli Cherkovski

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