I did wake up before dawn, that's true but I did not go
down to the racetrack. That would not have made sense. He
was from Little Rock, the closest track to him would have been
in Hot Springs, that was my town. This morning was not
about me.

I went to the levee. Which also doesn't make sense but
please go easy on me. I can tell my phone to do things, it
is less of a tool, more of a servant. Mountain Goats.
Sunset Tree. Go. It is an autumn record. Autumn does not go
easy on me, has not for a long time.

I listen twice. Walking. Levee is closed. Construction.
Fences. Signs, "Danger." Predictable. Jump fence, clean
hand, continue walking. I'm sitting on top of the levee,
facing west for the sunrise. Doesn't make sense to some
people but the clouds are most intensely colored in the
opposite direction of the sun. There are no clouds. There
is no color. Pale. Maybe he wanted a clear view of us. He
was a nonbeliever, I know, but what's to stop me from
hoping that he has more than we do now. Hoping he's earned
it. Proved himself to someone. We could never do as much
for him.

I went home for a few days at the end of the summer. I knew
of his clock, his moldy, green infested clock. I thought
about making the trip up to Little Rock, buying the man
lunch or some other disposable timespace. Appointment.
Confrontation. How are you even real? As an idol, a writer,
a myth, a gesture (probably a sharp thumb towards the
nearest exit), a friend, even? Somehow? A piece of latent
communal technology, or a face? A web of feelings, a (very)
active contributor to the world at large, and much of the
reason why this world is so dangerously important.
Electronic relationship. Spectral. I did not visit him.

Why do I want him here now? Me, the pissant. The dead-
linker. The musician, trying to be a writer, or worse and
more likely, the writer trying to be anything. What would I
do with an impossible friend or an ideal model no matter
how implacable, perfect, or dead. There is only a story
where there is tension. And yes, there was tension. But I
cannot use the word "unexpectedly," can I. I cannot regret
because there was never injury between us. Only spitting
matches. Spitting criticisms, spitting compliments. I will
not cry foul for never being able to say goodbye because I
never said hello.

What is touch without touch? What is sight without sight?
What is the love and closeness I feel to this group of
disjunctive strange-ers? There was always frustration,
there always will be, but it is...rising. Dissipating. I
had more to lose in this man than I thought. She told how
you'd died at last. At last?
I never paid much attention to
the last song. I am listening closer now. If you want to
know the one thing about this morning I'll remember most
it's the trashy ghetto market I went to on my way home
looking for greasy breakfast. They weren't serving anything
hot til lunch so I looked around and saw a six-dollar cake
in the freezer. Cheap, poor, three-layer vanilla with
sprinkles. Oversweet and disgusting. But on the box, a
promotional note: "Great For Birthdays & Special Occasions."
It was the first thing of the day to make me laugh. I
couldn't resist. I bought the over-priced corporate as shit
piece of unexpected pleasure, ate about a third of it with
a dull fork and some apple juice for breakfast and quietly
above my occasion and my pride, toasting one difficult,
absent friend.

Thanks Danny.