Zenosaurus: Kevin Diminyatz, an artist and long time friend of PZI, told me today that Albert Saijo just died in the volcano on the Big Island. Kevin is doing his funeral.
Kevin Diminyatz, an artist and long time friend of PZI, told me today that Albert Saijo just died in the volcano on the Big Island. Kevin is doing his funeral.
Albert was a friend of Jack Kerouac and of Phil Whalen and other beat poets. He was in the internment camp during World War II at Heart Mountain in Wyoming, where Nyogen Senzaki had the only zendo in the US at that time. He didn’t care much about possessions, and claimed to have enjoyed the freedom from adult control that prison camp life conferred. Later, like other Nisei, he fought in Italy.
Albert’s mother was a haiku poet, one of a number west coast poets in the camp, though her poems from those hard years were lost. Albert’s brother, Gompers, was an artist, some of whose calligraphy paper I still have. Albert wrote in “caps” but in different colored ink, which made his manuscripts intimate, dark, sweet, and giddy all at once. It’s more or less what you might think if you pay close attention and hang in there happily or otherwise with the sinking ship.
One of Albert’s poems: