Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Something that Lasts
Our friend Mark died a year ago today.
All week the words Write something write something Write anything on the blog to prove you're here kept passing through my head, but waking up this morning there was only one idea that made sense. 365 days ago Mark left. And because he's never coming back, this will be for him.
Mark loved good cigars and great Scotch and the way those two make a night a lot more gorgeous. He was a poet who loved other poets most of all. He was passionate about the written word and how incendiary it can be, how loving, how perfect. He hated phonies and pretentiousness and idle gossip, although gossip is never idle and the phonies should know that most of all. He loved his wife and his dog and his cat and he loved the ocean, too, and these mountains most people take for granted.
He loved the simple act of reading a book. He loved the heft of them, the craft of the spine and the ink, the smell of pages and how no internet will ever replace all that, how reading something online has no soul but what we force into it. He loved law-breaking liberals and profane revolutionaries and those who go howl in the night and he threw this dark pointed look at anyone he met who understood none of it. There was something feral about him when pushed by an idiot or fool. He knew some idiots and some fools.
He loved New York City and Paris and Woody Allen films and Che Guevara and Fidel Castro's pitching; how he would have loved to have seen Soderbergh's 'Che'. He didn't judge others which is a quality in such short supply I can think of almost no other besides him. We shared some of the same Gods - Cormac McCarthy and Kerouac and Ginsberg and Cassady, Lowell and Plath and Berryman and Carver and Rexroth, and always at the top of the list the great, misunderstood, underappreciated Hemingway. Mark simply did not live long enough, if quantity of years are anything to go by, and I think they are. It's such utter bullshit that those who die young somehow cram all the good years in: we say this so we can live with the loss, sweep it away, hope it won't happen to us. Some people get all the luck; others try to make and save and store up what they can. Whenever I read something beautiful or bruising or benevolent or terrifyingly true, I will try to think of him. Mark, this is for you.
There is a way
if we want
I'll eat the chicken carbonara and you eat the veal, the olives, the
small and glowing loaves of bread
I'll eat the waiter, the waitress
floating through the candled dark in shiny black slacks
like water at night
The napkins, folded into paper boats, contain invisible Japanese
You eat the forks,
all the knives, asleep and waiting
on the white tables
What do you love?
I love the way our teeth stay long after we're gone, hanging on
despite worms or fire
I love our stomachs
There is a way
if we want
to stay, to leave