"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

19 February 2011

Requiem for a Friend

"I'll never find someone
quite like you again-
I'll never find someone
quite as touched as you..."-VAST 

It is the day of the memorial. I sip a hot cup of Moroccan mint tea before making breakfast, trying not to think too much about the auspice of the day. With a mind that never seems to shut off, such a task is rather difficult.

There will be things said. Sweet things. Funny things. Poetry. I really have none of those. I can only offer the truth. Because of that, whether I get speak this becomes irrelevant. This is supposed to be a celebration, as the social construct of reality dictates. A dog and pony show for the living to feel they've done right by the dead. I place this here along the spider's web as my own little testimony, so those who happen by might take note. Whether or not I read it aloud at the memorial is a roll of the bones...


I might advise those of weak constitutions and conservative mores to perhaps go outside for some air, for I find I can only speak in truths; and the truth is rarely soft, flowery, clean, well-pressed or conservative...

For those who were not aware, or in denial, Rachel had what conventional society might term as problems. Me, being the honest friend that I was, and quite the bastard at times, really had no inhibition telling her she was fucking insane. She would laugh, sometimes even going as far as to say I might not be anywhere near as sane as I said I was. Sometimes, I would see a writing of hers where she would mention she was crazy and part of me worried her stating that was somehow my fault.

There was once she did feel quite suicidal, but had the presence of mind to check herself in. I was taken into her confidence over the incident. In fact, for a month after the fact, I made sure she got proper, and not toxic, doses of her medications. That time, outside of blood relatives, I was one of the few to visit her. When she got out, I took her out for a porterhouse. She would recall that as the time when I got her drunk on red meat.

She was someone I referred to as family by neither blood or marriage. We were that kind of close, and for me, that is a hard thing to admit to. There are only handful of individuals who I share that sort of intimacy with. I loved Rachel more than anything...only not like that. And once it was established the amore was not like that we had an amazing acquaintance.

Here was the friend who when I was searching for a girl was willing to drive me all over the city to find her. And when things went sour with the same girl, was willing to do any and everything in her power to make sure I was all right. We swapped jokes and books. There was this one chicken recipe, which I just loved, and though she told me the spices, I doubt I could duplicate it. During a bout of depression, I carted her up to my house in the mountains to give her a few days to decompress. When I got news my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and posted it online, I received some very compassionate responses from my friends. Rachel called me, saying this was not something to just fire off an online reply about. An hour later, I would come across an online posting of her grandmother being condemned to dementia. When I called Rachel to express my condolences and bitch her out for not telling me when she called she simply said;

"I wasn't calling to talk about my problems tonight."

I was the misanthrope she would delight in thrusting into social situations, just to see my reactions. She would laugh when I coiled up and growled at someone, and laughed even harder when I'd say something snide to her after the fact. But she also had an intuitive awareness of when I needed to be left alone, be it by friends or strangers.

She was the social butterfly. My ongoing joke with her was everyone knows and loves Rachel, because there was nowhere we could go where it didn't know at least five people. Chances were, she might have even dated one or two of them. She would tell me she was, at heart, as much of a recluse as me and I'd call her a filthy fucking liar. Sometimes the look she gave me, though, seemed to speak of at least wanting a little more solitude.

It's almost funny; many of my friends, Rachel especially, have referred to me as a storyteller. The perception being I am somehow gifted with words. And yet, when it comes to my beautiful friend, any time I try to speak of her, as with now, I find I am tongue-tied. All the tales, all the jokes, all the little things...for all the power I may or may not possess with language, I discover I cannot articulate. It seems so cliche', and ham-handed, but here and now, I realize I can only speak in truths:

I miss you, mon ami...


  1. I don't think there could be a greater tribute to a true friend than this.

  2. I like your site. Thanks! Here is a true story of mine in return.

    Lisa Nicole Lopes had premonitions about her own death, but she wasn't able to avoid it, despite the early warnings. I feel that I can relate to her, but I dealt with similar suspicions (of my own) differently than she did and I, unlike her, am here to tell you what I did to survive my first encounter with The Reaper.

    Lisa Lopes was better known as Left Eye (a nickname that a boyfriend gave her because he said that her left eye was lazy). She was one of three singers in the 80's band TLC. Her premonitions about her own death and subsequent untimely demise are well documented, because Lisa and a crew were filming a documentary in Honduras during the time. Left Eye Lopes spoke on film about her omen, and again after a car that she was riding in had run over and killed a young boy. She lamented that the spirit that killed the boy was actually aiming for her but had missed.

    Lopes paid for the little boy's funeral and did what she could to comfort the lost lad's family. Apparently Left Eye was right about the spirit that haunted her, because a month after the boy's death, Lopes died in a car crash (in Honduras). This time she was driving. Lisa was the only one in the vehicle that was wearing a seat-belt, but she died... and everyone else survived.
    After hearing a story like this, some would say that it was Lisa's time, and that there wasn't anything that she could do to avoid it. Had I not gone through a similar situation, I might agree. But since I did, I don't.

    There was a time when I felt like (my) death was close to me. I ignored the eery feelings for awhile, chocking them up to pessimism, but eventually I faced the strengthening force, first by admitting to my self that it existed. Left Eye got this far, but recognizing spirits isn't rocket science for god's sake. You have to fight shit like this, not freeze like a deer caught in the headlights!


    It was 1986 and I was in Davenport, Iowa, when I finally decided to face the Reaper before he faced me. Since the Reaper has no face, I'm speaking figuratively.
    I was sitting on a bar stool when a fellow came in asking if anyone wanted to get a tattoo. We chatted, and before too long I was the customer that he was looking for. We left the bar and went to a little garage space that he tattooed out of. The scene was totally unprofessional, as far as tattoo shops go, but since I was a carny (carnival guy) it wasn't anything new to me. I stopped the artist from apologizing for the place and we got down to the business of picking something out to tattoo on me.
    There wasn't a lot to choose from, no walls of colorful flash or volumes of designs just a single, thinly filled, loose leaf binder. Having never wanted a skull tattoo, I surprised myself by selecting one with a black rose between it's teeth. "That's the Black Rose Of Death tattoo," the needler told me. "Perfect," I proclaimed! "It's just what I need to fight the reaper. Put it on my left arm where I can keep my eye on him.¨

    I believe that the left represents the spiritual side and the right represents the physical side, so my tattoos are placed accordingly. One month later, in Chicago, I was stabbed (in the heart and stomach) to death. The doctor that saved me, said that I have a new birthday and... I still have that tattoo, too.

  3. Light208; Thank you for your kind words. I did end up reading it, and her mother loved it.

    Spiritual Hobo; That was a truly interesting tale.

  4. I'm glad that you ended up reading it, especially if others could see the love within your words. I hope the memorial was what you wanted it to be.

  5. What a wonderful tribute this is to Rachel and your amazing friendship, the likes of which escape many in an entire lifetime. I feel privileged to be reading this and peek into a corner of the beauty that is her, you and the ties in between.


  6. Light208; Well, to be honest, if there had not been a reason for me to read that, I'd have been rather thrilled. The paradox is it took such a horrific and chaotic happenstance for my to compose what I said.

    Shogirl; And thank you for your comment.

  7. Sometimes the best thing you can say about a friend is that you miss them. There is often so much beauty in the simplicity of a handful of words.

  8. I think you're on to something. Be that as it may, and I know it's horrifically selfish of me, but I'd rather my friends are drawing breath when I mention I miss them, so as we might rectify the situation.