Today I received a very sad note and two small works of art in an envelope that came from Portland, OR. The note was to let me know of the passing of Ames Dee, our dear friend, and blipper Scribbler on December 14, 2022. When I read the note and held the two small paintings in my hands, as two physical objects, the world for a moment seemed a little lonelier. I met Scribbler when I attended the Willamette Writer’s conference in Portland many years ago. We became friends instantly. Since then, we had been in touch from time to time. She was an unbelievable writer, but she also liked to create art journals. Had an incredible sense of humor and a great spirit that led her to big projects like writing a novel. Incredibly she was the one who introduced me to blip, something that I will feel grateful for forever.
Let’s honor our dear friend who passed away lonely in her home, and let’s wish her well on her next journey.
This is one of her poems:
“Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
and waste its sweetness on the desert air.”
“I think continually of those who were truly great....”
“... but I also regarded myself as a failed version of myself.”
I think of Vincent’s greatness, undiscovered
until he snuffed his candle. His sad death
released his joyful art, hitherto hidden,
painted with passion till his dying breath.
I think of Theo, his art-dealer brother,
supporter and collector, letter-writer,
giver of art supplies, lender of money,
protector of his brother’s legacy.
My paintings, poems, journals have no Theo
to save them. Will they follow me with haste
into the grave? Like Vincent’s paintings, their life
was my vocation. Legacy, or waste?
I think continually of death, my death,
the ways it might without a warning come —
tendril by tendril, like a vine-choked tree,
or lightning flashing from a summer storm.
Is there still time to strike a lasting mark
to show what thoughts I’ve thought, what paths I’ve trod?
Will anyone give thanks for me to God
for laughter I provoked or work I wrought?
I think of how quite welcome death might seem,
relief to end the wearying routine
of leafy greens, floss and brush, stretch and walk,
whose only goal is more days of the same.
With feeding tubes and respirators, borrowed
heart/lungs/liver sliced from the living dead,
I ponder how hard will I cling to life
despite insistences to spurn this strife.
Though death’s a mere way station on the journey,
part of my pilgrimage to the unknown —
Peking to Beijing, Persia to Iran —
the undiminished fear remains that dying
might be painful. Terrifying? Woeful,
at least, for most. Whatever the will wills,
however ready the spirit, the cells glower.
Holy Mary, pray for us at that hour.
Here's a link to her obituary.