By Louise Ure
Last week I received a gloriously sad, thoughtful and marrow-warming note from Ken Bruen. What else would you expect from the Irish King of the Cast Out Angels? It is a love note, of course, to all of us here at Murderati, full of memories from our past years together — an accounting of both our joy and our losses.
He’s given me permission to reprint it here.
Welcome back, my Tuesday friend. I hope the sun in Algeciras is kind to you.
‘TA SE AN RUD IS EH.’
(IT IS WHAT IT IS)
By KEN BRUEN
ALGECIRAS, APRIL 6TH, 2011.
FOR JIM CRUMLEY, LEGEND, FRIEND, ANAM CARA.
Seems a time ago, Le Temps, if not Perdue, at least so mourned.
I was happy then.
Being a member of Murderati, what was not to love?
Pari minding the crew, Dusty extolling on politics in a way that stirred the grand days of TS O’Rourke, being blog buddies with Louise, Alex having me back, always, and icing on the cake, Murderati was nominated for The Anthony. Plus, Toni Causey and Brett, turning out dark gold.
Heady lovely days.
Barack was the real whisper in the wind and hope was tangible.
I wanted this post to mark the best and the brightest then, for me.
I remember Louise’s post on her late brother, one if the most compelling pieces I ever read, cross me bedraggled heart.
My friend Jerry Rodriguez, his death un-ravelled me in ways I didn’t know.
As would so many to come.
Codlamh samh … means ‘sleep well my loved ones.’
Louise’s beloved Bruce
And oh Sweet Jesus, Elaine Flinn
Oh Lord, so many, I can’t name them all.
But didn’t know.
So wrote as If all were indeed possible
The whole espero-que-si scenario.
I’m sitting on the sea front at Algeciras as I write this tribute to the best and brightest. There is a ship for Algiers at 7.00 in the morning.
Tangiers, that ferry sails at 7.00. I’m seriously uncertain. After my graduation, going to try and find Paul Bowles with Irini.
The web, never take the bollix for granted, I shit thee not, on Amazon, in German, a bio of me and my marriage at 21 to a Greek Millionaire’s daughter.
I would have sworn, Mathair An Dia, ( Mother of God) that would never surface.
Me mother would have killed me.
I don’t know.
Remembering my languages but eerily, only the terms of ambiguity.
Oh yeah, snapshots of the torn mind.
One of my used-to-be favourites, a beach in Galway.
See, the two stick figures, like Zorba, clearly dancing.
She’s gone now.
My wife took that photo, in days when I think she liked me, a bit anyway.
Or Aine, late to my life, a photo, rare as we had little time,
On that promenade in Spiddal, dancing, again! Me? Like seals who didn’t know predators are attracted to motion, especially happy tide.
Emotional chum in the water, frenzy freely.
One of my favourite books, ‘A Movable Feast’, and Hem talking of his delighted love for Mary, says:
‘There was wood all around, I never touched it.’
I’m sure around me, there all kinds of driftwood, in my ignorance, I didn’t touch it either.
Telling some of these tales to David Thompson, ridiculously young and brilliant. Oh Sweet Mother of God, the most get-go publisher I ever had the grace to know.
On tour with Jason ( Starr) in Germany last Sept, we get the call, he is gone.
I was 60 on the third of Jan, finally free I hope, espero que si, of cigs but the rest? Jesus wept.
In the blessed nigh on nine years I’ve been part of The Mystery Family, it’s been bliss. I stop here, un momento and sure enough, a guy approaches, goes:
‘Amigo mio, que passé?’
He truly doesn’t want to know so I give him some dinero, he goes:
‘Hoy, el muy bueno hermano.’
I lost my only brother ten years ago.
In my wallet is a photo, I never, ever look at. She’s there, smiling, shite, I know that and who knows, I might have been too but I forget. Thank Christ. I do know she has an expression of such longing, yearning even, but now, I still wonder, for what?
You believe it?
I never asked.
Swear to the God whom I amuse so highly, I never did, lest she tell me and I couldn’t deliver.
I should have asked.
My Dad, always (siempre) had a look in his eyes, one that defied:
‘Take your best shot.’
Me, the photos, I look like the best shots were already over the day I thought I could live in the world.
In Delaware, Princess died.
And I go:
Well, not really, I’m too nice, Jesus, to utter that but I feel it.
I stand up, think:
‘I really should pay tribute to those I love and respect.’
And the list is endless.
As Paul Brady sang in The Island:
‘Hey, this was never meant to be no sad song.’
I think of the wondrous blogs:
Peter and The Rap Sheet
Ali, of course
Duane (go win that Edgar buddy)
Crime Always Pays
Jen’s Books Thoughts
The lady I’m with approaches, she’s French so melancholy is not that much of a mystery, she goes:
‘K, there’s a party for your award in like, half an hour.’
I give her me best smile, the one that leaks
And no humour
I know, I got to practice it a lot at all the funerals.
I start up the incline to the villa provided by the publishers and she asks, slight frown, as me quiet is not common, asks:
‘A gra, OK?’
Sorry, I’ve been teaching her Irish, saved me from talking about the friends I’d so wish to Christ she’d known.
I nearly smile, say:
‘No, I’ve been doing some stuff on the laptop.’
She stops, never … no matter how in the wind they are … underestimate the intuition of a lady who cares for you, she asks:
‘Tom? ( Piccirilli) Lukas? Philip?’
Then she lights up, gets it, says:
‘Jason…. Jason Starr.’
I have 2 new books near completion but I haven’t written for 2 days.
That’s it, the freaking reason I’m out of sorts.
Man U play Chelsea later and the bar will be full, giving me support for me team and all good stuff, as Lukas (Ortiz) says,
‘It’s all good amigo.’
I drink the equivalent of maybe three Buds (light). God be with the days, yada, but come morning, I’m sitting on our balcony and she, God Bless her, moves right in beside me and you have to know me God-forgive-em moods, to come that close in the morning, she hands me a café con leche, her arm round my shoulder, casually, like we’ve doing it for twenty years:
‘Yeah… right, I know.’
I think, say:
‘Alanna, what I’m writing is, Je pense, mais no, un cri de coeur.’
Gives me that rare to rarest look, of someone who gives a tinker’s cuss as to what I really think, I know at home in Ireland, cri de coeur is simply, whining … worse, what they call, off-white whining.
She looks out at that Ocean, stretching to Africa, she still doesn’t know if we’re travelling, asks:
‘Que pense, Kay?
Tempted to go Galway, channel Charlie Stella.
But I uncharacteristically tell the truth, say:
‘I’m thinking … ti kema, quelle dommage … of Murderati, of the crew of damn nigh Cowboy-angels there.’
And she laughs.
The French laughing is nigh on as wonderful as the Irish telling the truth. She hugs real close and, God forgive me, the warmth makes me afraid, afraid I’ll get used to it. She misinterprets my shudder, asks:
‘Andiamo, diga me?’
Our slumming in about five different languages is one of her main appeals for me, plus, she never …like seriously … judges me. WTF.
I truly tell the truth, tell:
PS from Louise: I’m on jury duty again and will check in during the day as we get breaks.