Remembering Arnie

Arnie Reisman and his beloved Floyd. -Courtesy Fan Ogilvie

To the Editor:

Dear Cleaveland House Poets, never have I held you closer to my heart than at this moment. You are truly holding me up as I buoy those who need buoying at this time. Poetry can be lifesaving as well as life-enhancing … it actually can function in so many capacities that we should have it at our side no matter what. Just the initial whisper …you are on my mind … starts the healing. 

Arnie’s is the second death to hit me this year that is impossible to accept. He looked healthy, he was never short of ideas, he played the senior jackrabbit to our Island’s many tortoises. He got things done. And would continue to until his hundreds. He was Mr. Capable. And burrowed into every pulse he took. You didn’t love him at first? Great challenge. You would in time. Laughing, remembering, supporting. His success was never measured by your being diminished. We all won together. Every step we took. 

So now we have to figure out how to salute this rare Homo sapiens who took another route to the end of his journey on earth. Please besiege me with ideas … Zoom or in person, here or in Hawaii, when it’s open. Themed responses or wildly individual. Involve others or keep it close? We don’t have to rush. Thanks to the anthology, we have heard his poetry recently. He grew exponentially as a poet this year. Like Emily on speed. I like a mother hen felt personally so proud of each poem he wrote. No novice, Arnie. Maybe when you have written the deepest clearest poems about ones’ parents you/we can, advance to Park Place.

I’m sorry for all of us, most of all Arnie. That remembrance of Paula of voices arguing in Arnie’s bedroom Oct. 4 might have been his arguing with the Angel of Death, trying to buy more time. It’s possible that the Angel of Death used Arnie’s dog Floyd as a bargaining chip. The Angel sure had his material cut out for him. What did he finally say? What, Arnie? Now, there’s a poem.

Love to all, and thank you for being here. Now. And then. What a magical ride. 


Fan Ogilvie
West Tisbury