When you lied you lied with transparency.
Even your paranoia had a logic and charm.
In my own schizoid persistence of vision
I see you hovering somewhere between
Borges and Huckleberry Finn.
You had too much class to be classified.
Your work defies every categorization.
It bugged them that they couldn't pin you down...
You were always the guy
who could find the needle in the haystack of poetry,
then leave it there for one of Ariadne's friends.
Your poems packed more irony between the lines
than sardines imagining themselves as soldiers.
They were both slippery and intent.
The blue portents of dusk would hitch rides on your eyelids,
while you focused on the logarithms of
a hummingbird's heart, or the continuities enjoined
by two parallel doubts. You had a mind
as subtle as an irretrievable melody
or the afterglow of a remembered kiss.
You had an attitude as open as the breezes of spring
and a privacy deeper than the ocean's floor,
or a black safe ice-skating on the mirrors of regret.
You kept your own counsel
even as you went on giving and giving: your heart
was a soup line in the Great Depression of Esthetics.
And we all lined up for more, wide-eyed as children.
Your poems were tourist maps out of forests of madness.
Your convictions were sterling, and you plunged them shining
into the flaccid, vampric heat of disbelief.
No elephant of lies dared pause too long
before your vision of a better world. The hyenas of greed
and hungry ghosts just swallowed their laughter
when you tuned your guitar...

 1st page - In Memoriam Tony Vaughan

In the midst of my idiocies, I could resent
your high-mindedness at times,
and reading my bad mood like Braille
you would smile that smile that floated like fine weather,
your emptiness as taut and arch as a rainbow
that seemed to say,
"When I mount this blue horse
of the sublime,
I 'm the first to admit that it isn't mine..."
I admit, it still pisses off that you're dead,
but somehow I continue to see you there,
carrying some kind of metaphysical pouch
or a fine basket, woven by Native Americans at dusk
and with it you traverse the fried earth of Hiroshima,
in recollection of all those silenced lips, those kisses curtailed,
and retrieving three particularly sweet pairs of lips,
you say "fine,
that's enough, I can always come back tomorrow
should I need more.

                                                       ©Ronald Sauer

Tony Vaughan
1947 ~ 2008

Off The Cuff Press, San Francisco, CA.
Series Number: 63 ©FALL, 2008

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