Wednesday, April 08, 2009

On Saturday at Peter's We Hold the Fantasy Baseball Draft in Memory of Patrick Finley, Whose Life Was a Fantasy

But that, as they say, is another story, and not one I have the energy to write. When you are young, you think you will see everything twice, but Patrick is the only person (not including relatives; that goes without saying; that circus never leaves town) whose self-destruction I witnessed close enough to see the pain, the fine grain of it, and not merely hear the reports and appreciate the distance.

Patrick founded the league in 1984 because he figured -- rightly -- that he was clever enough to win the small cash prizes often enough to turn a profit. And he was. Everything was always a bit of a scam with him, but he made it fun.

He was a poet, you know, and I do like to put up bits of poetry on this blog, and I have hundreds of pages of his poetry upon which to draw.

But I don't put any of his poetry up. His magic was in the presentation of his work -- his salons made money, of course -- and you were never able afterwards to read the poem and think it as good as it seemed when you heard it. He had raised the words up too high. They hit the page and lay flat.

And that's confusing to a susceptible reader. (It does, however, explain how the fact most poets read their work so badly may, in fact, serve well the later appreciation of their work.)

Patrick. He was an actor, a performer, a manipulator, a bit of a cad, polyamorous, polymorphous, not that stringent in keeping his accounts -- but he paid us back the money he owed us the week before he died.

I'm sure he was setting us up for something later, a real score, so he died at the right moment, at least for the sentimentalization of his memory.

I actually meant to write about the league, but I have wandered off. I was talking with E. the other day about that 'seeing everything twice' thing, about how when we were younger part of the pleasure of any new experience was the notion -- spontaneous; not cultivated; just there -- that this was just the first of many, at least of several, visits to place and moment, that if Venice was wonderful or Crater Lake deep or the flood of lightning bugs filling the valley gorgeous to the point of confusion as we came down the mountain that night in North Carolina, all of this was the thing itself and also a reference point for future experiences that would both extend and retrace the past. We always had one foot in the future, it seemed.

Oh well. I know you are supposed to live in the moment, I just don't know how to do it, not entirely. We thought there would sooner or later be more of everything that was good -- if not exactly identical, similar enough to resonate.

Patrick was a good thing. He was a rascal and possibly a genius -- certainly at something, at the conning, anyway, and making you love it -- and we were pretty sure we would hang a dozen like him on the walls of our life. But we haven't, no sir, we haven't.

No point feeling bad. It's like the Heisenberg uncertainly principle, maybe. If we had stared too hard, concentrated too much, not let it play out in our peripheral vision, it would have been work, and we would have been court reporting our own lives, attentive but apart.

He was just there until he was gone. What? What happened? I don't quite ....?

So perhaps we lived in the moment after all.
Damn, he looked like a poet.

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