It is very strange for me to be sitting in his chair in his natural habitat of utter chaos where I never, never have ventured before. He had his space, I had mine. We would often send emails to each other from upstairs to downstairs. There would be ensuing howls of laughter through the floorboards. But tonight I am here and looking around at his hodge podge, topsy-turvy shelves and they speak more about the man than I could ever describe. For sure, no one ever policed that singular brain of his!
Here is just a peek... I don't think he would mind. (Impossible to list more than a fraction of the stuff, but you'll get the idea, as my eyes roam over the piles.)
Two Robert Crumb cards of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Barbecue Bob bluesmen
A little book he adored by one of his favorite artists, Edward Gorey, "The Water Flowers"
A video tape of "Forbidden Planet"
A little teddy bear statue that a lady here gave him
The Art of Charcuterie Cookbook
The MC5 "A True Testimonial" DVD
About 50 or 60 Georges Simenon Maigret books
An old Belle Star 45 rpm from our days in the band in NY, circa the early 1980's
Books about mushrooms, wild orchids, kite craft, cartoonists
A plastic statue with a bobbing head of "Big Boy", home of the double decker
Tangled up cords of every description (computer, radio, electric... who knows)
Piles of comic books with a penchant for Weird Comics
Recipes of Chinese Spareribs
Colette's "Secrets of the Flesh" ... (Hey, that's mine and I wondered where it went...)
Lots of CDs of Frank Zappa, Wayne Kramer, Iggy Pop, Bootsy Collins, (Bootsy's New Rubber Band), Sun Ra, Funkedelic, etc.
Reproductions of Marcel Duchamps, Max Ernst (Microdot was simply gaga for DADA)
A sweet Dutch wall calendar (out of date)
Videos of all of the Jacques Tati films
A Batman pin
An antique box camera
A couple of pairs of old shoes stuck in the bookshelf
A hammer, some wrenches, nails and screws, screwdrivers crammed in a Pernot water pitcher from the '50s, along with oil paint and water color brushes
Five Japanese calligraphy brush sets
A huge pile of maps
And that is just scratching the surface...
I almost passed out when we got the prognosis as he left the hospital: he had from 3 days to a month to live. His cancer(s) had progressed to the point of no treatment possible. He said to me, "Don't worry, I'm going to drag this thing out like the third act of a bad Opera." And he did. He lasted just a little over a month. During that time he was reading avidly, and I mean gluttonously, stuffing that brain with more facts. He mostly was reading history books, almost one a day. He never complained. He told me that he didn't have time to be depressed. If he wasn't reading he was doing the NY Times crossword puzzles. Death came gently and he was at home with the window open to the new leaves of spring.
I have to turn off his computer now.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
In closing, here is a little poem by Emily Dickinson from 1894 that I read today:
The Butterfly upon the Sky
That doesn't know its Name
And hasn't any tax to pay
And hasn't any Home
Is just as high as you and I,
And higher, I believe,
So soar away and never sigh
And that's the way to grieve~~~