Tuesday, October 01, 2013
With an old friend at Jacob Wirth: Jim Resnick and I.
**** This was written for my late friend Jim Resnick. Jim passed away last week at the age of 54. Jim was instrumental in helping me put out the first issue of the literary magazine Ibbetson Street in 1998.
By Doug Holder
I have never seen him look so bad...his face was ashen...he was skeletal..he was heavily medicated...it was heartbreaking. I picked him up at his house in Allston, and we went to Jacob Wirth, an old hangout of ours in Boston for dinner. When we walked in there was a loud entertainer in the main dining room, so I pointed to the waiter for a room in the back. We sat next to this woman of formidable girth, dressed like an old hippie, gray hair and granny glasses. She had this huge meal--plates surrounded her--pot roast swimming in gravy, cornbread mopping up a mash of meat and red cabbage, her pinkie finger circling the plate making sure nothing remained. As the entertainer belted out trivia questions from the 1970s she turned to us, daintily putting her napkin to the edges of her mouth and said " I know the answer to the question--they don't--." She laughed quietly to herself, as if enjoying a private joke.
I didn't think of it at the time. But the universe was talking to me. That woman---- that particular woman-- was iconic for Jim and me; the classic Boston eccentric was a type both Jim and I lived around in rooming houses in Boston, and was almost a re-creation for us from our past. The subject of my latest poetry book Eating Grief... is all about what she represents--people like her fascinated us, and to a degree both Jim and I became what was the object of our fascination. For some reason I was compelled to take that back table--I didn't see that iconic woman until I got there. Everything seemed to hit me after the dinner--I know at some point , some point in the distant or not so distant future, I will see her again....