Sunday, February 14, 2010

Monday Muse- Memorial

On Valentines Day I was reading Motherless Daughters, a book my friend Adrienne just gave me with many other books, while my sweetie was upstairs working on computer and work related education, when I felt it was time to look around on the net and see what poets had to say, then I found a site listing various memorial for fellow poets. Then I saw you, Jim sitting there in the chair with a cigarette, and I thought, MAN, it has been a while since I saw you read brother. I was excited when I found out you were reading at a New Years Even gathering I would be in town and could go.

The church was filling up and I began to look around for you. No we had not met, but I had read you works, and seen Basketball Diaries all my friends talked about. I wanted to be able to go home and not just say I saw you read, but that I had met you. I did feel that we maybe had more in common than writing poetry, reading at open mics and addiction, so if we did meet we could discuss the demons that come alive in our dreams. We could talk about how we both shared the same will to survive, and about the words that seem to keep us company spill out onto paper or through our instruments of music. The discussion I envisioned in my head would make our meeting so much more than the celebrity crush I walked in with.

After waiting for over an hour I got up and went looking for the bathroom. I was looking for the moment to ask some of the people that were just standing around in the back carrying on what seemed like such deep and entailed conversation, timid me did not want to interrupt, but then a door opened up off the hallway and this tall lanky reddish haired David Bowie looking man looked down at me and asked if I needed help. I told him I was looking for the ladies room, and I was a far cry from being a lady at that, but he pointed the way, and I told him thank you. He said "sure, anytime". I returned to my seat and my friend asked if I saw you, and I said I was not really sure what you even looked like; it had been a while since I had even looked at the back of your book jackets, and I did not own a computer yet.

Soon the poets began reading, and I heard them call out 'Jim Carroll' and you came to the podium. I told my friend that I had met you, but did not even realize it was you, as if you were too stuck up to even bother with this hick poet who's work was no match to your fluid lines. I was bummed because we did not talk about poetry, the art of writing, or even about how addiction can take lives way before one might be ready to leave this earth. I wanted to ask you if you believed in heaven and hell. I wanted to hear you reading your poem, but I was so far back in that damn church I could barely hear your words. I did realize however that it was you that was so polite and guided me to where I needed to go.

As I sit reading blog posts and saw your picture, I realized how close I now live to New York, and I could go to another reading, so that maybe we could finally have that talk I envisioned, but then just under the photograph it read 'Jim Carroll Memorial Reading'. I was in Texas when you passed. No one told me that you would not be at that church ever again, except maybe in spirit through the other blog memorial, or in the words of others as they might read one of your poems to the crowds as I read on Silliman's blog. I was glad to hear you were still writing even as you took your last breath.

If we were to pass each other, and if you believe in heaven and hell, I would not be so stupid and afraid to speak up and say hello to you. For now I can hold onto the last words I heard you speak, and that is reassurance enough that we will meet again. You are so not the celebrity type and would sit down and we could have that talk. Maybe you might even open the door up when I arrive.

James Dennis "Jim" Carroll (August 1, 1949 – September 11, 2009)

Gabrielle, I Hear You

Was it intentional that I am a late bloomer? My grades in school were not 'up to standards' in educational terms, at least until I went to college for the second time and had a 4.0 GPA. When I was much younger my teachers were always telling me how gifted my arts, crafts, writing and poetry was, yet they wanted to hold me back two grades. I could type eighty five words a minute with three errors in office duplication class, the top student in class. I won first and second place in speech writing and presentation. My dancing skills in music class were so good, most of the other students would not even talk to me, as they felt I was showing off, but I could not run, or was not the lest bit athletic. I failed physical education.

Is my gift of being a wonderful mother to two beautiful children something I should brag about, an accomplishment so many other women have done, so really nothing that special, even though my most precious gift, my daughter died from my gift of passing on birth defects that ran rampage through my mom’s family for years. Sometimes, feeling sorry for myself, I feel and realize I just woke up discovering there are so many wild and wonderful things in life I have not yet tried, or even know about, but yet the one discovery as a late bloomer I regret the most, is finding out a beautiful poet whom only lived five hours from me in Texas, died from cancer.

What I read about Gabriele did not seem like a late bloomer at all, but she was active in the art of poetry and digital video education for much of her life. She must have made good grades, been dedicated, because she went to college early on and then made a name for herself by un-selfishly documenting her fellow poets, earning no money, and also wrote such wonderful words of her own. The last time Gabrielle Bouliane spoke in front of an audience, she told her fellow artists, “What are you waiting for”?

I realize after learning of her death today, which was just barely a month ago. Her last words were meant as always in this case to reach someone, and if at least change one persons life. That being possibly me, and being a late bloomer only means I am still alive, and now really really awake; it is time for me to learn all I can to be the best at what I love, before it is too late. So for her I say to myself "Shut the fuck up, stop complaining, and get busy with living"!

Gabriele Bouliane (1966 – 2010)

I had the privilege of seeing her in Dallas in 1990's at a poetry slam, ran by Clebo Rainy at Club Dada in Deep Ellum. A place that hosted open mics when Chumley's Bar closed (David Chumley, NYC), and was the hot spot and first open mic venue I had ever attended in the 1980's. I was not fond of slam's because I just felt the poets were so much more alive than I ever could be with my work. Gabrielle was one of the nicest persons you could ever have met.

NYC is so big, I actually have tried to find David Chumley so that I could say hello and thank him for making my life go in a direction that has been one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. If you know him, say hello, and we still miss him down off Elm Street in Dallas, Texas...


Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm always conscious of how short life is... I think that's why I try to cram so much in! These are lovely memorials.

Kerry said...

Thank you, E. So powerful and sad.

Jessie Carty said...

such a fantastic set of postings. i am always too chicken to really talk to the "famous" writers i've met.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Chef! As far as JC goes, he was the first poet I stumbled upon (when I was about 14) who let it all hang out. He didn't hold anything back, and I remember being blown away. Thanks for reminding me of that moment.