Please use this blog to help us remember Joshua Lee Anderson, who made the tragic and fatal decision to take his life on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Please post any memories or thoughts you may have in the comments.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Three Years and Five Months Later - August 18, 2012

I am off this weekend to move Gillian to NYC.  Too bad Josh were not here; he would enjoy a short weekend in the city, seeing his baby cousin and eating lunch at Katz - he loved their pastrami sandwiches

I want to share another poem from Billy Collins - it is actually the one that titles the collection.

Horoscopes for the Dead
by Billy Collins

Every morning since you disappeared for good, 
I read about you in the daily paper
along with the box scores, the weather, and all the bad news. 

Some days I am reminded that today
will not be a wildly romantic time for you,
nor will you be challenged by educational goals,
nor will you need to be circumspect at the workplace.

Another day, I learn that you should not miss
an opportunity to travel and make new friends
though you never cared much about either. 

I can't imagine you ever facing a new problem
with a positive attitude, but you will definitely not
be doing that, or anything like that, on this weekday in March.
And the same goes for the fun
you might have gotten from group activities,
a likelihood attributed to everyone under your sign.

A dramatic rise in income may be a reason
to treat yourself, but that would apply 
more to all the Pisces who are still alive,
still swimming up and down the stream of life
or suspended in a pool in the shade of an overhanging tree.

But you will be relieved to learn
that you no longer need to reflect carefully before acting,
nor do you have to think more of others,
and never again will creative work take a back seat
to the business responsibilities that you never really had.

And don't worry today or any day
about problems caused by your unwillingness
to interact rationally with your many associates.
No more goals for you, no more romance,
no more money or children, jobs or important tasks,
but then again, you were never thus encumbered.

So leave it up to me now
to plan carefully for success and the wealth it may bring,
to value the dear ones close to my heart,
and to welcome any intellectual stimulation that comes my way
though that sounds like a lot to get done on a Tuesday.

I am better off closing the newspaper,
putting on the clothes I wore yesterday
(when I read that your financial prospects were looking up)
then pushing off on my copper-colored bicycle
and pedaling along the shore road by the bay.

And you stay just as you are,
lying there in your beautiful blue suit,
your hands crossed on your chest
like the wings of a bird who has flown
in its strange migration not north or south
but straight up from earth
and pierced the enormous circle of the zodiac.

Josh - I wish you were still swimming in the "stream of life" with us and all your friends.  We miss you.   

Friday, August 10, 2012

Poem: "Grave" by Billy Collins

We are on vacation - our fourth without Josh.  I keep thinking what he would be doing if he were with us.  For example - would he have gotten up to play morning rounds of golf or hiked the mountain or would he have wanted to sleep in?  Probably the latter.   I know he would've loved The Dark Knight Rises, the new Batman movie that Gillian and I saw yesterday.  We did some shopping at the outlet stores before the movie; it is still hard for me to walk through the men's section in places like The Gap.   There are too many things that I can picture him wearing. 

While at a bookstore in Wellesley, MA, the title of a collection of poems, Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins caught my eye.  He was the US Poet Laureate from 2001 - 2003 and the Poet Laureate of NY from 2004 - 2006.  His poems are refreshingly accessible; written about everyday events in everyday language, albeit in surprising, witty and whimsical ways.

This is the first poem in the collection - poignant and touching.

by Billy Collins

What do you think of my new glasses
I asked as I stood under a shade tree
before the joined grave of my parents,

and what followed was a long silence
that descended on the rows of the dead
and on the fields and the woods beyond,

one of the one hundred kinds of silence
according to the Chinese belief,
each one distinct from the others,

but the differences being so faint
that only a few special monks
were able to tell them all apart.

They make you look very scholarly,
I heard my mother say
once I lay down on the ground

and pressed an ear into the soft grass.
Then I rolled over and pressed
my other ear to the ground,

the ear my father likes to speak into,
but he would say nothing,
and I could not find a silence

among the 100 Chinese silences
that would fit the one that he created
even though I was the one

who had just made up the business
of the 100 Chinese silences -
the Silence of the Night Boat

and the Silence of the Lotus, 
cousin to the Silence of the Temple Bell
only deeper and softer, like petals, at its farthest edges.

RIP Josh - forever loved and missed.