Again, I'm reworking old stuff for performing live. Although I think this one might belong on a page. I started reading James Wright again and he's taken over everything. Original version is here: gay-mountain.deviantart.com/ar…'...as it happened, I had seen him one more time - three days before he died, three weeks after my first visit. He had been moved to a hospice in the Bronx called Calvary. It was a releif to see him there after the squalor of Mount Siani; his single room was quiet, clean, tidy. As I walked in the corridors while nurses attended to Jim, I saw a skeletal young girl with no hair, the skin tight on her skull; I saw a young man with a leg amputated, bandages over his arms and head - yet tenderness and regard for life were palpable in Calvary's air. In the corridor a pretty, young black woman sang softly to herself and, with her arms clasped together, danced a few steps. Jim's nurses and helpers touched him and called him tender names.
Annie was there with her niece Karin East; Jim was particularly fond of Karin. I stayed for a couple of hours, mostly without speaking. At one point Jim started to write me a note, and paused after the third word. On his yellow scratch pad I watched him write, "Don, I'm dying" - and then, after a tiny pause, as short as a line break - "to eat ice cream from a tray."
Jim stared continually at Annie as if he memorized her to take her with him. Once he stared fiercely at her back while she looked out the window at wet snow falling late in March in the dingy Bronx. He signaled to me that he wanted Annie. I relayed the message, and she stood above him while he gazed and his jaw shifted from side to side. He held her hands, then took them his lips and kissed them.'- from Donald Hall's introduction to Above the River by James Wright