Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sunday Scribbling #115b: Guide

Our good friend Ralph passed on this past Saturday, a month beyond his 76th birthday. Dapper little guayabera'd man, full of cheer and schmooze and vision through the hardest of his hard times: monk on the 14th floor of the Granada in downtown Tres Leches, overlooking Rio Tres Leches. He left us last year after a bad bout, to recoup with his Josephite Brothers up in Baltimore. Last we talked to him, he was full of the usual sweet vinegar, with his plans to return triumphantly to TL and take on the full reformation once again. It was a sweet shock that he had moved on: he had the same kind of confident joy and sure doggedness that Nabokov had: VN was the first death that really spun me for a loss: the immortals just don't go like the rest of us.

I pray the good man Ralph went in peace: I'm sure he did: I'm sure he is. I felt him all around us on Sunday when we got the word. He was a saint, in his small, gleeful, saintish ways, shuffling the streets of TL in joyous savvy. One of the last movies he recommended to us was a little Canadian number entitled "Saint Ralph." I watched it with my seniors this past spring and we were all delighted. Ralph's spirit sings throughout the movie, as it still does down the luminous avenues of trees in TL. Bless him.

In the following bit of bitness written three years ago, I dubbed Ralph the Nome King for the sound of it: he in no way resembled the duplicitous tantrum-heaver spawned from Lyman Frank Baum's imagination. My adopted literary identity at the time was Arden Quadberry, surname "stole" straight out of the maw of Mr Barry Hannah, probably my way of mourning his near coming to SA for a writing workshop, sadly derailed by an illness that rendered said visit a gross incovenience for the Argyle King.


Took the Nome King out to La Mad for his 73rd birthday. His chattering protests all the way, but chattering protest is his raison d’être - you don't take it personally, you SURF it. It's big waves. He loved it, and well he should: he has been a huge blessing to us.

Mrs. Quadberry invited a quick round of napkined exquisite corpse in honor of the occasion. Quad was feeling surprisingly rusty - very rusty - so, the lines you don't like would be his.

Cinco de Mayo

Take a stroll
down the lane of love,
brilliant disguises, after rushes
winding down ladders lost:
You will affirm that which is true -
A summer's day, a taste of nothing
as wisdom inches forward
we breathe the sun's breath
Angelic / organic
Your day of birth
Sings tunes of your soul...
The potato horses, the cheese
Have it, tears of joy -
A solstice of wonderment.

[for the nome king: 05.05.05: quadberry productions]

Nome himself contributed title (natch: we are, after all, in Tres Leches) and the potato "inspiration" (I know many will take issue with the word): as we were corpsing back and forth across the table, Nome wondered what happens if one person's writing about horses and the other about eggs and cheese and ham. The garlic mashed potatoes were on the table: they insisted; I just work here.

Nome marveled when Mrs. Q read the poem, but Nome schmoozes like the best of us, said: "It's like you're one person." Mrs. Q: "We are one person." N: "Ooh. I would never want to be one person with my wife. I would want to be many people." Ba-da-bing. Nome is actually more Buddy Hackett (a very slim one, mind) than Lyman Frank Baum.

I would be doing Mother Yemaya a grave disservice if I did not thank her for yesterday's beautiful day. I was walking to catch the 8 (tip it over, you get the drift) to meet Mrs. Q and mijo-Q in downtown Tres. High bright blue sky that will kill us in another few months, but this one just shined Mother Y all down on her babies, with a whispering cool breeze to match. Tall green pecans and oaks, and at one point I felt all that tall green fill up inside me: Yemaya walking in and with her babes.

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Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I liked reading this post. Very inspiring one..

guiding lights?

7:24 AM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

hard to come up with words in response, though I can say your writing and honoring of your friend has stirred a depth in my heart that is tender and tangible.

10:09 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Tammie Lee: I'd say that's probably Ralph working his simple magic. Peace.

11:07 AM  
Blogger danni said...

your friends are so fortunate to be able to count you in their lives - you express such loyalties and steadfastness regarding your relationships!!!

5:31 PM  
Blogger Foxfire said...

Wow. I think that the picture you chose did your post justice. It's just as beautiful as the words you used to honor your friend.

1:57 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Foxfire, welcome. The picture had the feel of Ralph's being just beyond that horizon.

3:04 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

danni: loyalty and steadfastness: two good Scorpio traits: plenty of others can testify to my sting.

3:51 AM  
Blogger Linda - Nickers and Ink said...

An inspiring testament to your friendship.


IN MY FATHER’S FIELD, at Nickers and Ink

4:56 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you again, Linda, and thanks for visiting.

5:42 PM  
Blogger alister said...

Ralph sounds way cool, too.
Oz nomes, Quadberry bombs...
You're my books and movies this round of days, the kind of days visited by chaos that trips one knee-jerk after the next until thinking can be heard calling too late. But all these colons! They’re jiggling the crumbling columns of grammar and mechanics that adorn the sides of my brain ;-)

12:31 PM  
Blogger San said...

I filled with the green too, reading these beautiful words. And that exquisite little corpse embedded in your lovely meanderings/memories is a jewel. The wisdom inches forward, sneaks up from behind and breaks our hearts with beauty.

The sweet, vinegary Ralph must have been a repository of that kind of beauty, as is your reflection.

Question: What illness kept BH from 3 Leches?

3:51 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Miz A, you must needs have a vacation, cerebral one at the very least. Colons: I jumped on their bandwagon some years back when I was juliacameronizing (morningpaging / journaling) in longhand (perish the thought) and declared colons the coolest little puncts, and semi-colons the least, with their "be I colon, or be I comma" ways. In the way of hearts over i's teen angels in love, I went a little colon-happy, up to and just short of needing a colon-ectomy. I've since made amends to the twiddling semicolons, but colons still be the best, except for the mighty em dash, but they don't look as cool in longhand. In an interview with Cormac McCarthy, I think I read that he had banished semicolons altogether, and we know what he thinks of commas.

10:12 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

San: Ralph was one loving, crotchety sweetheart. Really only crotchety when you were trying to do something nice for him: groused to high heaven about how unnecessary...Even from his new estate, he's been grousing with Tina about not paying for altar flowers at Reconciliation to honor his memory. You can imagine the hoohaw he'll be raising about the memorial service that is in the works at the PeaceCenter in July. It's odd: I have never felt how the thin the space is between life and death as I have with Ralph: he was such a leprechaunish presence in life that it seems he is still so much here.

10:24 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

San again: as regards BH, in 2000 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but when he was hospitalized before the Gemini Ink gig, it was for an "undisclosed illness." While mourning his non-arrival here in TL, I of course went a-googling and found a very cool interview in which he describes being in some hospitalized stupor and just feeling Jesus in the room. He wasn't making holy roller pronouncements, he just spoke of his presence as a very comforting visit from an old friend. This was before my return to the Jesus Tribe a year later and before my discovery of Annie Lamott's "oh, what the hell, come the fuck on in" conversion experience, so having CHAOS-MAN come out with that was an interesting little awakening.

10:36 AM  

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