Saturday, September 13, 2008
I am heading out today to the “U-Haul Cup,” a response to the better known (and actually legitimate) Ryder Cup golf tourney that my little brother Peter and a few of his buddies established some years ago at our family’s country place in Buck Hill Falls (in the greatly misunderstood Pocono mountains). A few of you here knew Peter, and what a bright open soul he was, a person who loved and was genuinely interested in all people, as comfortable around golfers and good old boys as he was with drag queens, teamsters, priests, performance artists, gym teachers, pot dealers and cats, to name a few.
Pete always said he never got the “creative gene”, like the rest of us. He was the “straight” one, the lawyer, the Catholic school boy and he might not have gotten our lives (“Vegetarian, Matt? Really?” He would ask as he melted a slice of American cheese on his cube steak frying in the pan) but he got our love to be sure and we got his back in spades. He was our rock when we lost our other brothers Michael and Vincent to AIDS back in the day and his own sudden passing from a myocarditis that everyone thought was the flu was the cruel reminder of our fragile perch in the world. He joined Michael and Vincent, another star in that sad spreading constellation, fixed in the sky well before it was right for any of them, but heaven is all the brighter for it.
Tomorrow I will play golf for the third time in my life, I will tear up the greens in honor of my jocky little bro, for native Brooklyn pride (fuckin’A!), for the sons of Midwood, and especially for Mom and Pop. I will raise a toast, and that ungainly trophy that sits on the piano (a trophy that I am still convinced is a champagne bucket Peter swiped from the Grand Prospect Hall in Windsor Terrace). I know I will score high (please, no jokes). I might not recognize myself in the doing of it but what does it matter? I will open myself to all the unexpected possibilities. Downward dog on the eighth tee? The streety southpaw poet putting in country club Elysium? Why the hell not? Brother Vincent, window dresser and dandy, who was more comfortable at the Roxy in flowered showercap and long underwear (another story for another time), would certainly have taken up the clubs too. Peter’s quick exit from this life was the harshest toke anyone could have imagined. But for life to mean anything it has to end, and for love to mean anything it has to endure. As much as Pete’s loss taught us that lesson, his life reminded us still of the world’s precious and inexhaustible gifts. Say yes to everything, Vincent would have intoned. Yes, only yes, is finally what endures.
Namaste baby Bro (and fore!)