For Bill Nestrick (1940-96)

Out of the rectitude and narrow care of those who

teach in the public schools,—

                                                a mother

who would not let her son watch cartoons of

Porky Pig because we must

not laugh at someone who stutters,—

 … the mystery, your brilliant

appetite for the moment.


For Herbert, the aesthetic desideratum is

unpremeditated art, not as “natural” or “spontaneous”

but a speaking of the Spirit as it becomes

conscious, a fidelity to

the moment itself. The only

appropriate gift is discovered to be

inseparable from

the giver, for man can only give himself.

In 1975, the magazine that printed your great essay

announced: He is writing a book on Herbert.


You lived in the realm where coin of the realm

is a book,

and despite the fact that by the end of

graduate school you

already had published twenty thousand articles

you never published a book.

Against the background of this bitter

mysterious lapse your brilliant

appetite for the moment.