Vancouver, Washington, USA
I saw him for the first time a few days after I moved into my new apartment. The likeness is uncanny. From several storeys up he is the spitting image of my good friend, patron and poet, the late John Detro: similar build, tweed jacket and ivy cap, that distinctive gait as he makes his way to and from the corner coffee shop each morning. Coffee, always coffee. A recovering alcoholic, Detro was never without a cup of coffee or a cigarette. At the same time, whenever he visited, he was never without a jug of wine. If he could not drink then why not his friends?
When I got the news that Detro died it was months after the fact. The details are still sketchy; something about a freak fall. Had he fallen off the wagon? This much I know, it happened in his home town of Pacific Grove, California, on the idyllic Monterey Peninsula, where he periodically returned to write and to host "Jazz Tides", a weekly program on KRML radio.
So who is this figure? Detro reincarnate? His guardian angel, or his spirit come back to give me the full story? One morning I go down to wait for him and find out. But I am too late. He has vanished as mysteriously as he appeared. Like Detro himself.
in your absence
the full moon
the Milky Way
they cannot satisfy