Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Here Today, Gone with Sorrow
During the late eighties and early nineties, I lived in the East Village. It was something of an electrified ghost town at the time. Many of the artists, writers, and creative personalities I'd admired from my geographically marginalized upbringing in the practically rural Midwest had died, but their presence was still felt, and you could see their influence still, very distinctly, not just in those who remained to talk about them but in the art being produced and its effect on its witnesses.
People were angry and energized. It was a uniquely combustible time: people I knew were eager to do good, strong work, passionate not just for a circle of lights around their name but a glow which might illuminate the memories of those they missed.
Today is World Aids Day. I don't have much to say about perfume. I suppose I could link the lingering auras of these people to the psycho-emotional properties of fragrance, its strange ability to bring the dead back to life in some way. Those things have consoled me when I think of my grandmother, certainly. But my grandmother died of old age. She lived a full life. She was allowed a broad range of perspective, room for reflection forward and backward. World Aids Day commemorates a different kind of departure, and such connections seem rather facile in this context.
Nothing will bring these people back, obviously, not even words, but I'd like to open the comments today to hear about those who might have influenced you, personally or through their work, people who made a difference in your life and outlook, and have been lost to this epidemic.
Failing that, perhaps you can take from this post some kind of encouragement to appreciate those closest to you. They could easily be gone tomorrow.