Bill Kinsella Died Today

by Axel Howerton

 

Bill Kinsella died today

leaving, as he always did,

when he was damned good and ready

It broke my heart a little to hear it

little cracks forming, splitting, glowing red from underneath

at the idea that he chose to leave us behind

Those cracks were already forming

the last time I saw him

tall and thin as ever

paper thin and faded like an old page

more crooked and folded and dog-eared than I remembered

Bill told me he was tired

worn through

and I nodded, as one does

as if I knew the weight of the years he’d lived

Bill taught me

A long time ago

about the Music of Words

about the Magic that glows behind Life

and Baseball

and Brautigan

Bill taught me about Love and Loss

about Moonlight

and the hanging curve

and the terrible joy of hitting it square on

Bill wrote stories of regret and redemption

and the writerly things about writers

because that’s what he was

Always

He took me on trips to Frank Pierce, Iowa

and Hobbema and Vegreville

and the weird back rooms of Vancouver

I rode with him across pages

from our own hometown in Alberta

to the jungles of Courteguay

where voodoo chiropractors turn out iron-armed infielders

and Dennys Kelly turned into a wolf

Bill showed me the world

with all of its cracks

and the Magic glowing red underneath

the hot stuff

and the thundering tempo

and the seventh-inning stretch when we all get to look

and feel the heat on our face

Adios, Teach

Enjoy the next game

and save me a seat

  • For Bill 9/17/2016
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