Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cranky, hot, hungry, headachey, and hormonal. God! The saving grace is that I am finally getting to the poems from Malawi and C and my other friends and family affirm that they're good. Like little snapshots--all the pictures I didn't take with a camera because I am a sucky photographer and there were many on the trip with better equipment and better shutter-clicking capabilities than I--every photo I took in my mind is swimming into focus as poetry.

I found out today that my friend Jasch Hamilton of Diamond Organics died last week. Jasch was endlessly curious, interested and interesting, energetic, delighted, intrigued, searching, questioning, but always in a positive way. I knew he had a brain tumor from the day I met him, in one of my writing workshops, but he was beating it back with green tea, T'ai Chi, meditation, chemo and radiation. He was even curious about his disease--marvelled at the new breakthroughs in medicine that allowed them to track and treat his illness, remained up-to-date, optimistic, and completely engaged.

I never thought he would die.

I did not get to take him to Esalen one more time as we had discussed and as I knew he wanted to.

I sent him my poems and plays, and he always was delighted in them, and often sent a box of food as if to say "Food for the mind, food for the body." It was always organic, exquisite, and fresh.

I will go to his memorial this Sunday. I will miss Scott's next Saturday, because of teaching at Esalen. I missed my friend Michael's in January because it was in Seattle.

Three vital, vibrant men, great guys all of them, all fathers of children who still need their presence, dead in their fifties. Of cancer.


mermaid said...

Why does it take the knowledge of imminent death like a cold bucket of ice water to make us feel our mortality? Somehow it pushes us to extend ourselves, to reach every aspect of the outside and inside. Maybe you'll extend yourself through writing?

Alison said...

Yes, I feel like the awareness of death is part of what drives my writing. I always send my work out to family and friends as soon as I am done with even a first draft, in case something should happen to me I don't want anything to perish in my computer unshared...but it's still hard to pierce through my own veil of denial, and actually feel that these men are dead--they were all friends of mine, but not people I saw daily or even weekly or monthly, so it feels as though they were just gone on a trip somewhere...which I suppose they are. I am very glad I will at least be able to attend Jasch's memorial service and read a poem for him--I know that he would have liked that--and that, wherever he is, he will like it.

Jose Carlos said...

Hi Alison

How do you like this short poem about death (?)?

Sou o dono dos tesouros perdidos no fundo do mar.
Só o que está perdido é nosso para sempre.
Nós só amamos os amigos mortos,
E só as amadas mortas amam eternamente.

(Mário Quintana)

As I guess you can't read Portuguese very well, here's a "crippled" translation into English, that is, as literal as it could be.

I am the owner of the treasures lost on the bottom of the sea.
Only what is lost is ours for ever.
We only love our dead friends,
And only dead lovers will love for ever.

Mário Quintana was a Brazilian poet. I think he died in the early nineties. I don't think his poetry is much known outside Brazil.