No real post tonight. I can't muster it.
Tonight I went to the memorial for my friend Dan, who passed away suddenly last week.
Dan was a chef, and it was so interesting to hear people from his life now talk about the contributions he's made to the Toronto restaurant culture, to the local and sustainable food movement, to the ideas of food that's simple and honest and nourishing. I knew him when we were in university -- when we ate chickpea and cauliflower curry out of chipped pottery and drank wine and listened to Leonard Cohen and wrote down funny quotes we all said so that we'd never forget them.
I've forgotten them all. But I remember the curries. The wine. The music.
I had a crush on Dan at one point, but who didn't? He was handsome and brooding and he could cook. Then one night someone whispered to me at a party, "He's not as mysterious as he seems." And it was supposed to dissuade me, but it made me like him more.
Dan was someone who made a contribution -- who made things better. I'm terribly sorry that he won't continue to be able to do that. He could have been extraordinary. I think he already was.
This is a poem that was written by someone named Eva, who I admit I don't know. She is someone from Dan's current life, and I am someone from his past. But the words seem as much about the Dan I knew as the one she does. I think it's just beautiful. (Peter is Dan's best friend.) I sort of wish I knew this Eva person.
Peter and Dan Sit By The Tracks II
Peter and Dan sit by the tracks.
Peter dreams of making a wildlife preserve
for English grammar, circa 1902, and Dan
dreams of new babies and garlic.
(Dan also dreams of things that are not
curled up in tight, plaintive fists. Some of
Dan’s dreams are the size of Buicks.)
Peter and Dan have watched 7,046 trains
slap past, and the big idea is always love.
Love is a girl, a black iron spike, another girl
and then a woman, an amber trickle of fire
down a pink and smoky throat, and then a
woman again, and what could be built inside
of her, a family.
Love passes back and forth between them.
It sterilises their mouths.
Peter and Dan have baggy pockets, baggy
trousers, greatcoats, toques. They sway
on the kerb, framed in the bar window.
They sway like lilies, old tents.
They fill the air with tuneless rumblings,
and kill it with stale smoke.
Peter and Dan are pleased, down by the tracks
or indoors with pints and pork in their mouths.
The only ideas they need are older than they are
and belong to someone else.
The trains are the same trains they have always been.
Peter and Dan sit by the tracks, sit on a bench,
a stoop, a fire escape.
Love and a bottle, like meddlesome neighbours,
moving always between them.