dear old poet…so its been two years, eh? i thought you’d get a kick out of the news that d and i shared an hour and a half yak-fest this morning in your honor
he, reading excerpts from his journal about this day and the night before, when he got the call from the filipino nurse…his memories of you over the years, over time…photographs and quirky tales….your gifts of writings lay boxed up, still resting in his new casa’s garage…
(yes, ben…the nurse really was the only one, “bedside” with steve when he took his last troubled breath and shuffled off this mortal coil..remember now?)
me, turning to the poems written from those days…reading aloud angry and grief filled poetry about death and dying…about waiting and holding on..about missing you by hours that morning…. reading your letters aloud…how it felt to miss saying goodbye…how it feels today with missing you just being …around…. somewhere..
how grateful d and i are to you for connecting us as long-lost siblings…joining us together at the hip with your death…if only we could have thanked you, live and in person for that daily and ongoing gift..
these days, the old beat up metal mailbox at the end of the driveway
barely hangs on beneath that ragged old scrub oak that its fastened to..
sometimes, when i come home in the late, late afternoon, i recall other fall days in the year of our
most prolific and oddly tender correspondence…the leaves have turned the same as they did then
the air smells similar acrid with woodsmoke
but you…you are still …gone
i remember how the day’s transition to early evening sky looked as it fell behind the old stand of redwoods
how the chilly metal of the rickety box felt to fingertips, prying open its tin mouth, curious of what its old innards might contain in a day…
(hopeful that it contained a ramble or two from you)
how happy i felt to hold an envelope addressed in your spider-scrawl, knowing that it connected us both to memories
of days when we were young…and life oh that crazy ocean park and venice life how it bound us together in a tangle of
memories and shared secrets ….parallel pathways and faces from our younger days..
hey old poet…you haven’t missed much…we’re still here…older and creaking, giggling at the young copycat hopefuls, who are still dying for the chance
to kiss the hem of your ragged garment or to be the next you or the next buk…shaking our old heads at the state of this world and this planet…marveling at just how complicated the day to day business of simply trying to get by has become….
d misses seeing you manuevering the streets near the pavilions, cane in hand, marlboro hanging between your lips…honest and real to the end
and me? that woman up north… i miss the letters…the guts of you splattered on lined notebook paper, with all the smokescreens and bullshit burned away…letters from a friend, containing old art and the meat of you, raw and real….maybe for the first time in your life, you said! you became my only friend who exchanged a letter a week…simply because someone cared to share some words with you, you joined in volleying crazy letters back and forth….me, asking for nothing in return….you, grateful that i wasn’t another syncophant, trying to steal or rearrange your memories…glad i wasn’t another ‘fan’ trying to get to another…through you
yep, we miss you steve…
there is a tear in the corner of a pre-nightime sky…the mailbox stands silent and empty of you…
your imprint on old metal stays strong and…you stand, as always alone in the simple, basic friendship that you gave us…and yes
we still miss you..
mostly, we wish you were here to laugh at this nonsense with us during a sunset stroll on the boardwalk…the taste of a cafe breakfast and a strong coffee, fresh on our lips…the one we never got around to having at the end before the cancer arrived, fangs bared..
RIP old poet…
we hope you’re having a grand ol time now, immersed in the wonders of the ‘what’s next’…a gorgeous muse on each arm…crazy cars and fame and fortune..beauty and birdsong and the smell of the pacific…the sound of the waves you loved..
(that’s it—we’re sure of it…)
for steve richmond 1940-2009