The photo caught her in black and white. 1984. Her hair all chopped off, like her stylist relegated the cut to a blind man with a chip on his shoulder. Or more than likely she cut it herself. Looked pretty good, to all punks everywhere. And this punk here.
She was an experimentalist. She was an inspiration to many writers anywhere. And this punk here. She took her freedom by the you know what, and shook it. That’s how experimental writers like it: shaken. And stirred. She was much more than any polaroid could capture. She was higher than your average .jpg image IQ. Americans anywhere could celebrate her, and did. And this American here.
How do you celebrate a great and enduring writer, postmortem? Hopefully the same way you celebrated her in the half-century of her life, if you were lucky to know of her, then. You read her shit! You read her alone, by candlelight. You read her before you go to bed, and after you wake up. You read her between sunset and sunrise. And then between sunrise and set. You read her in the backyard with the dogs. On the couch with the cats. Aloud with friends. In your bookclubs. In your cafes and open mic venues. In your classrooms.
You cannot wait to read her, if you’re anything like this one here. You thirst for her kinda message. Just like you thirst for your own fucking freedom. Visions of fireworks and red and white blues. Visions of what has been ours for centuries now, thanks to a bunch of dudes wearing wigs in Pennsylvania. Furrowing their brows in their graves, at the crack in the great and enduring liberty bell.
We cannot wait for our freedom. Not then, not now, not ever. This is the quality I think most strangers to this land find so magical about us Americans. We will stop for nothing, for our freedom. The Mexican-Americans and Latinos in our cities are rising to majority status in population. You can take off the hyphen. These are Americans now. You think the border dogs and barbed wire stopped them? Nah. Think again! They are like us.
Like this one here, born red hot aquarius on a cold winter day, in Hartford, Connecticut. Forty years breathing. Forty sheets to a gale force wind, fastened with all our might to hold the mainsail in place. So the wind can come up under and uplift me and you. Comes out from under us and into the sail. Natural born energies harnessed for a moment. To take us out through heavy, rolling seas and foam, over the course of each coffee-powered suntanned ragged weathered, leatherbound day. From the opening to the bookend. Known in the fix of an veteran stare, a survivor’s buddha half-smile, thereafter in the calm radiating through the cove where we find ourselves. At the end of the day.