This is my final goodbye to my friend, Jack Kennedy. I hope it provides my fellow county-folk some catharsis as writing it did for me.
You played a Johnny Cash Song,
And we all laughed when you couldn’t remember the lyrics.
We heard stories about your endless pairs of shoes,
A key to your outlandish wardrobe.
Your friends got up and spoke longingly
About the bigness of your heart;
Your endearing wit and viral smile,
Always shewing away the pain of others.
We heard some poems by Bukowski,
And I felt sad for never knowing
How much you loved the old Barfly.
I wished we could have shared more time,
So I went up and remembered the you I knew
From our rocky years of adolescence—
How your kindness was always a cushion,
How your humor always healed.
I stumbled through choking tears and said,
“He always made me feel welcome.”
You were well-acquainted with the bottle—
The greatest bartender that ever lived.
You poured poetry for weary souls,
Fixing drinks and hearts alike.
You patched so many holes in the world
By filling it up with you.
I wonder sometimes if you absorbed the pain
That you hated seeing in others.
Did that huge heart of yours sag low,
With a quarantined collection of hurting?
I wonder endlessly now …
What was in that big, bald head of yours
What made you make the call
To retreat to your closet with a gun,
and put a bullet through it all.