Originally published August 21, 2007
I still feel your lifeless weight on my back, your limp arms tied around my shoulders, the rope taut, the trip down slow, methodical, lactic acid in my legs, tears in my eyes, fears in my throat.
You died in my lap. It was 8 years ago today. You’re a bastard for making me carry you down. I’m a bastard for not arguing more fervently about you not wearing a helmet.
We drove so fast I thought the axles would grind out underneath us. Those damn mountain roads, curve after curve when all we wanted was a straight line. That night I heard Ben Harper’s cover of When the Drugs Don’t Work for the first time. They didn’t. They still don’t. But you continue to burn your torch in the foothills of my mind, guiding me up and down the mountains of my days and nights. You changed me. Forever. Big thanks I owe, I owe.
I remember the trees growing sideways from the rocks. I remember the dew on their quills in the morning. I remember finally throwing away the blood soaked clothes. I remember sitting under an endless moon with a bottle of Jameson and a joint, and you. You kept using that ridiculous fake Irish accent. It never worked for you, but you used it anyway. I can hear my own laughter. It wafts in the trees, whisping and whirling in the pine needles.
Somewhere in the shadows is that coyote that sang along with us while we played guitar at Pictured Rocks, waiting for our hobo dinners to burn crispy in the fire. Always fire. Always fire. I wonder if that coyote sings along with everyone? I doubt it. We were just too damn cool that night. Miles Davis kinda cool, Steve McQueen kinda cool.
In retrospect, I guess you were overdue. At ninety miles an hour you reach the end of the road faster. That concept makes me angry….that you didn’t get to go slowly through the moments that make a life, but you didn’t have to, you had vision at breakneck speeds, you saw everything. Every window.
And now I see you in the windows.
Be Well Billy.