Paul's Putting A Face On Suicide poster
will go to the fair with me
I'll be signing books from ten to four tomorrow at the Ventura County Book Fair, and I'll read about ten minutes at 1:30 pm. The fair will be held in Camarillo California at the The Pleasant Valley Community Park Auditorium, 1605 Burnley Street. So I'd love to see my Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara county friends there.
But just in case you can't make it, here are a couple of the poems I plan to read from my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. You might have read them here before, but for me they are timeless.
beat it out
on the mighty eighty-eights,
played those riffs,
tapped his feet
bent his head
down to the keys,
felt those sounds
on his fingertips.
Yeah, he was a hot man
on those eighty-eights.
But all too soon
his bag grew dark.
He went down,
played the blues,
lost that spark,
closed the lid.
And, yeah, you got it right,
quit the scene.
laid himself down
in that bone yard
for the big sleep.
Yeah, for the really big sleep.
“The dead we can imagine to be anything at all.” Ann Patchett, Bel Canto, HarperCollins Publishers, (2001)
He sits cross-legged in a tree
deep in concentration,
the way he would sit on the floor of his room,
learning against the bed doing homework,
composing music, talking on the phone.
His closed-mouth grin shows
he is pleased to be where he is.
No longer a skinny rail, his cheeks filled out,
his skin clear, his eyes bright.
His tree has everything – soft jazz sounds
flowing from all directions,
deep vees and pillows for sitting and reclining,
the scent of incense and flowers,
branches of books by Miller, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky,
the music of Davis, Gould, Bach, and Lennon,
and virtual communication to those he loves.
He needs no furniture, no bedding, no clothes, no food.
Those necessities are for worldly beings.
The passing clouds give him comfort,
and the stars light his way.
Heaven takes care of him
as he imagines himself
to be anything at all.