Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Lisa Orme Bickmore
When I knew Lisa, she was part of a set.
A newlywed. Lisa Bickmore. Part of Steve and Lisa Bickmore. Salt and pepper shakers.
Part of a set.
One never saw the one without the other. One never thought of the one without the other.
Of all the people who made up that wild assemblage of characters I loosely refer to as the "Fifth Floor Study Group" from my college days in the late '70's, Steve and Lisa were the only couple we thought of entirely in the singular.
Lisa was married to my roommate's cousin. Although they were both studying English, they seemed an unlikely pair. Lisa was far more bohemian, and Steve was all about Vegas.
The most notable thing about Lisa was always her irreverence. For the time and place, it was striking.
I still have a very vivid image stuck forever in my mind of her telling all of us what her new favorite word was, a four-letter word that was very out-of-place for the the university in which she'd chosen to study. To hear it now in the wider universe might not be as jarring, but there, in the late 1970s, in Utah County, Utah, it was a pistol shot. It wasn't The Big Lebowski. It was Provo. She was audacious, and amazing.
I remember the last time I saw Lisa, with her Steve. I had one piece of a mystery, and they had been given the other, by the same person. Apparently, the person who shared half-a-gossip with them didn't count on them running into me with the other half-a-piece. Mystery solved. Was that cryptic enough for you? I hope so. There were baby carriages, and state fairs, and literature, and stories.
Lisa's personality seemed to me far too large for the salt-and-pepper set, far too large even for the corner of the omniverse she inhabited. She should have been in the Village during the Beat Generation, or San Francisco in the Summer of Love, Paris as an expatriate.
She left the set. But not the name.
Lisa Orme Bickmore.
Lisa Orme Bickmore is a published poet, especially well known for her collection of poems published as "Haste" in 1994 by Signature Books. Her works have appeared in scholarly and literary publications, including Quarterly West and Mudfish. She is a professor of English in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Lovely bohemian. Lovely Lisa.
I still remember your favorite word.