Monday, March 19, 2007


John "Swami" Lesko : Poet ,Then and Now

Then was more tha ten years ago in another century on avenue A. John had just returned from a short stay in the hospital and was showing us his "zipper". The "zipper" was where the surgeon had reached into him to clean the interior of his abdomen and the other two holes were :on his right where the knife went in and on his left a drain hole created by the surgeon .Standing there wounded and revealed on avenue A John recited a new poem for us.
A few nights earlier there had been a dispute over money and drugs and dope-sick"Sloth" and Bobby were in desparate need of a fix. Angry and sick , Sloth encouraged ...and Bobby stuck the knife into John's belly. Bobby went to jail for a year or so ,John went to the emergency room and Sloth walked free. At least thats how I remember the story in the short form .
Now was today on avenue A at St. Marks Place in the presence of a number of old-time friends including Jim Power and Jesse Jane.John does not come to the East Village much these days so there was much to talk about .We talked about the old days on A ,the current war , Vietnam, the 1st Marine and its upside-down insignia on his beret,friends not seen for a long time and poetry and publishing .John also recited a couple of new poems .
John has always been a poet , a real poet and not the kind that you find at the so-undercontrol poetry slams that are so popular in downtown NYC today. His life is poetry . He has lived poetry ,blending the constructive and destructive into a life and a collection of poems .
Recently along with creating new poems John has been collecting and copyrighting the poems that he has written over the years ,old and new, inorder to publish a book of his collected poems .
I have somewhere under a pile of papers and pictures , an earlier printed collection of his poems that I can not find . They are worth reading . I'm sorry that I do not have them available to present here for reading .
As writing this again reminds how much has changed here on avenue A... I also recall that just a few weeks ago another person that I know from the neighborhood walked up to me and revealed his "zipper" and its two accompanying holes

hi there, i lived with john on 7th street off 2nd ave in 04' he was always talking about finishing a book of poems. in my final weeks in new york i harrassed him daily until he finished a small typewritten book on card stock. i took the sheets and had a greek shoemaker stitch them together.
it is called "THE NOTES of a DYING MAN" d'Agate
he wasnt in great shape at the time and his "other interests" were making his time hellish and confusing. i believe i have the only copy of this book. unless he did the same thing again or before.
i find that hard to believe considering how hard it was.
i too have always wanted to get these incredible poems out in public. they deserve to be read
john deserves them to be read.
contact me with ideas/info
I've met John at Mars and he made me feel his Venus. He had a fully bound book with him, self published that he was selling for a pretty decent or decadent price, thick, more than 80 A4 print pages. This was December 07.
the editions to which zabatay refers
were private press, numbered & at that time limited to 20 prints. so if I had asked $500 per copy it would not have been unreasonable.they're printed on bond linen paper which alone cost $30.95 per book before printing, binding costs and the authors time and effort are considered. Let's keep it real.

Let's keep it real in the real world, virtual bites have no taste.

Do you still have any of those editions?
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