Saturday, February 25, 2012

Certitude of Laundromats: Albert Huffstickler (12/17/1927 - 2/25/2002)

Today is the 10th anniversary of Albert Huffstickler's death and I still think about him all the time. Here is a video of a musician, Tola Marton, adapting one of Huff's great poems to song, posted by Felicia Mitchell on the Huff Facebook page.

The poem below, from the chapbook, pictured above:

 click to enlarge

Also posted on that page today is a poem called "Origins", with Huff reading.  Another beauty.


mountain temple--
the butterfly sips
Buddha's tea water
translated by David G. Lanoue


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Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 128 songs


Charles Gramlich said...

great guitar work here. Compliments the poem very nicely.

Anonymous said...

Even with him gone, the world is less a lonely place, because of him. His "Certitude of Laundromats is an epic beauty that still resounds down through the years and back to today. Thank you, Don, for so much.


Casual, sudsy
social love
at the tubs

After all, ecstasy
can’t be constant

Lorine Niedecker
from North Central

Constance said...

Thanks so much for the tribute to Huff. Not only for memories of his poetry, but of seeing him shuffling around the Hyde Park hood in Austin and how great it was to live there. He was the first person to publish a poem of mine, in the neighborhood newsletter, and I wrote it in the corner laundrymat. Long live Huff and his influence!

Woodland Rose said...

Thanks Don, absolutely love the line "... all our churches would be laundromats to celebrate the fact that all our laundromats have been churches from the beginning."
Priceless. Andrea

snowbird said...

One of the great dilemmas of mankind...what is dirty...what is clean and what is the difference! Being careful what to wash glad for these reminders...great poets...

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Glad you liked the setting for Huff's work.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Very fine dovetailing of the Niedecker poem, she who is master of the brief ...


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


It amazes me how this man resonates with so, so many people - his encouragement of your work, which is stellar in my estimation, is just another example of his wide-ranging generosity (and eye for telling detail).

Somehow, when I think of him it isn't memories, it is like he is alive in the now, which is as good a definition of memory that I'm going to come up with early on a Sunday morning.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Spot-on - you and Huff.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...




TC said...


The laundromat poem is so touching. And already speaks of another time. Hereabouts there are now so many people living (and sleeping) on the streets, that the nearest laundromat closes pretty early, and is "monitored" (by the manager) fairly closely. No free sanctuary. Still there remains the poignancy of that odd lost sock, to remind us this is a human habitat. (No wireless internet.)

Talking of sanctuary, your reverent memorials are modest temples of a sort. Much like poems in that respect. Sweet places to step away, pause, take thought and recall what lasts. Until next week's load.

The memorial function of poetry I think is perhaps its oldest and certainly its most useful to us as humans. Keeping the memory of the good things green.

TC said...


Something tells me I was here on Sunday night, and now it's Monday morning... speaking of all night sanctuaries.

You and Huff have removed the mind from the present to the always curiously more poetic Deep Past. From which has sprung a very strange laundromat memory. One evening in London c. 1964, with nowhere to sleep and the prospect of a rough night out on the streets of the East End looking somewhat grim, I accepted the cordial invitation of some people who ran a laundromat -- you can stay the night, they said, but we'll have to lock you in. Swell, I said blithely. Then out went the lights.... and eight hours were passed attempting to get the various body parts arranged comfortably on a bench approximately the size of a 2 x 4. Not a wink of shuteye. By morning the big round gaping eyes of the washing machines seemed to be laughing wordlessly. Terrifying premonition of epochs of insomnia to come!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


There is something collective about the memory of laundromats. The communal experience of going down to the river, beating cloth on rocks, and passing the time with those also there.

The London memory evoked is so real. Laurie and I walked past a laundromat last night (Sunday) and it was just packed with people - a place we used to go and, in all honesty, we were both happy not to be lugging the loads back and forth anymore.

Still something so poignant in the faces, the too bright neon, the general, in this case, unfortunate untidiness.

One lone sock clinging to the wall (that odd lost sock, disappeared in Berkeley, its mate here in Pittsburgh) ...

PS Your London memory stirred up one of our own, first time in London, we'd just arrived, couldn't get in the hotel for hours, I was sick with something, and we spent three or so hours on a bench in Hyde Park too exhausted from the over night flight to move, wondering if we'd be busted for vagrancy and vaguely not caring.

Still our bench was a bit bigger than yours.

Here's, again, to Huff, who has a way of stirring things up.

Bart said...

Hard to believe it's been 10 years already. Huff was a great poet.

Theresa Williams said...

Very nice...I discovered him through this blog. Love the elegance and simplicity of his work.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Whenever anyone says they discovered Huff through the blog or mag, that's when I think, well, I've accomplished what I set out to do all the back in 1989.

Cheers, Theresa.