Sunday, February 24, 2008

in memoriam

Why I don't like Oscar night

Just after Pulp Fiction was awarded Best
Original Screenplay the phone rang.
I didn't much like the interruption,
didn't want to leave my nest of blankets,
but since there was a commercial
anyway I answered. A voice, empty as a theatre
on an early Tuesday morning, spoke only
a few, hollow words--He's gone, friend.
Rick died
this afternoon.

I remembered the time, five years ago,
when we were seventh graders
at Bair Lake. Tradition dictated
a serious game of Capture
the Flag every Wednesday night,
at dusk. That summer, dressed in colors
of night, I prowled the tree line on the southern
edge of the playing field, near
no-man's land. Too intent on a clump
of pine trees ahead of me, I didn't hear
him creep up behind, and when he clamped
his hand over my mouth I panicked,
tried to scream. I still couldn't see
him, but as he threw me
to the ground in a slow-motion
tackle his clear, tumbling laughter
gave him away. If you ever
do that to me again, Rick Laramore,
I'll...well...just don't--
but as we wrestled in the dirt
I caught his joyful laughter.
I never could stay mad at him.

Ricky was strong, looked like a sapling
waiting for the spring rain to thicken
him up a bit, ate like a condemned
prisoner. He played soccer,
ran constantly. He had perfect
curly brown hair even though
it usually looked like he just rolled
out of bed, blue eyes that always laughed,
a mouth that told me I was worth something,
and Hodgkin's Disease.

I don't remember who won
Best Actor the night he died. All I remember
is the sound the telephone made
when I threw it at my bedroom wall, the smell
of dusty earth that filled my senses
when Ricky tackled me on that dark summer night,
the dampness of the pillow I buried
my face in to cry.

April 6, 2000


  1. Beautiful poem, I've always loved your poetry. I don't like Oscar night, but for other reasons.

    Feel better and enjoy time with your Little Mister.

  2. That is such a beautiful tribute! He must have been someone truly special to have made that kind of impact on you!

  3. It's so hard to lose people we love... I'm sorry.

  4. The way you describe that night is so powerful and beautiful. It's good to remember the people we lose.

  5. I'm sorry for your loss... :(
    It was a beautiful memoriam though!

  6. What a beautiful tribute to a dear friend. It made me cry! I'm sorry for your loss! Take care - Kellan

  7. This was so amazing. Thanks for letting us in to share it with you a little.

  8. What a nice way to honor Rick's memory and what painful memories for you.

  9. What beautiful tribute to a great friend.

  10. I would hate Oscar night too if a friend died then. Terrific poem and a wonderful tribute.

  11. What a beautiful post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  12. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  13. You are an amazing writer. What a gorgeous tribute to your friend.

  14. I'll echo what others have said--this was a beautiful tribute.

  15. What a beautiful tribute to your perfect.

    I am sorry for your loss.

  16. This was beautiful. I'm so sorry.

  17. I'm so sorry that you lost your friend. As a mother of a child who has fought cancer (and is in remission now) this really pierces my heart. Cancer is so unfair!

    What wonderful memories you have of him. It seems as though he lived a full, joyful life. A good example for the rest of us.

  18. That was beautiful. I loved the specific memories you shared--this was very moving.