A Visionary Friend Is Gone, Long Live His Vision

by | Oct 17, 2012 | Features

for Chris Toll

Though not a licensed phrenologist and not able to afford calipers, I would have to start with his head, his majestic hairless skull. “Ambient light from a Lenin Lightbulb,” is how Bed Bath Blavatsky and Beyond put it. He had thought it into a handsome planet of clearly defined paths, culverts and landing strips for minute travelers of all dimensions to set down on. His poems of quiet passion were the generator for untold powerful landing signals. Often when out at night he would gently bow his head and rub a spot, saying “I’ve brought many visitors with me tonight.”

There are those of us who sculptors should memorialize into busts and those of us who would be more suited to jello molds. For the virulent, languishing in a potato sack as they bleed out in a donkey cart across the border as their captor bitches to a neighbor “No se puede vender el dañado gringo,” is the only proper final tribute to their cranium.

For my friend, Lost Astronauts Who Knew Too Much work in a sealed chamber in deep space with the DNA of Helen Keller, silky webs spun by spiders surrounding Poe’s crypt and the tears of broken hearted catholic school girls to create the hands that will one day bring the dimensions of my friend’s dome into such glory that Rodin’s bust of Balzac will shrink into a PEZ dispenser out of embarrassment.

About his small smooth arms what can be said that has not already been stated by a multitude of paleontologists about those of the late lamented T-Rex? The surprising disproportionate strength of them could perhaps best be measured by the incident when he shared the dias with populist poet Billy Collins. My friend got up to read right after Collins had read his somewhat musty, frequently trotted out, “Mother’s Day” poem. Shaking hands with Billy before taking his place behind the podium, the shake went a few moments beyond the norm and Collins’ face contorted into a wide grimace before a small shard of bone pierced the skin of his forearm. I will leave it up to YouTube viewers as to whether there was a trace of a smile on my friend’s lips as Mr. Colllins tried to muffle a shriek of agony.

It would take a book to enter into his heart and do it justice. Nancy Drew in fishnets would find Jesus in there playing lightning bolt toss with Dr. Strange. Drinks hoisted aloft to the downtrodden in a vast castle filled with toys, Bob Dylan passed out on a giant feather bed covered with absinthe bottles.

I woke up to my friend gone from my planet this morning and the goneness had gained immense weight. Shrugging into a shirt my shoulders had an attitude – “Yeah right, go ahead, put a shirt on.” Even my car windshield had tears on it on such a cruel sunny day. My friend you should hear this, this beautiful song that’s playing. My friend you wrote such beautiful songs.

Rupert Wondolowski is the author of The Origin of Paranoia as a Heated Mole Suit (Publishing Genius), The Whispering of Ice Cubes (Shattered Wig) and has a new book, Mattress In an Alley, Raft Upon the Sea, coming out on Fell Swoop. He also likes to paint and pluck.