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


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


Oppressive heat of the high Devil sun

Fire breaching sky

-Everything ends as dust-

Vast and eternal ocean of sand

Bone white planet

-The endless death of passing Time-

No creatures breathe this salted air

No heartbeats quiet

-The scorching winds of hateful Gods-

Gods that were once men

Ghosts made of dust

-Casting shadows on the deserts they have made-

© 2013 Axel Howerton

Originally published in “Night Shade” Volume One

Little Bird Publishing House, 2013

Cold Sunrise

Black thought pierces night

Summer dreams turned red with blood

Dead lips pull at heart

Pumping for the hunger-beast

and left spent to a cold sunrise

© 2013 Axel Howerton

Originally published in “Night Shade” Volume One

Little Bird Publishing House, 2013

For Brautigan

For Brautigan

The Archvillian of Romance
sitting peaceful by the river of his youth
writing only to the lonely fish
hiding easy from Ancient Dinosaurs

His nose grows old
contemplating existence
A lush garden of his own making
carrots and green parsley
gripping his hands in the dirt
like old friends

Dreaming of the final ride
the bullet that takes it all away
and leaves him natural
resting silent with Beaudelaire
and a bottle of Muscatel

© Axel Howerton 2006

*Richard Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – ca. September 16, 1984) was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His work often employs black comedy, parody, and satire. He is best known for his novels Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar, as well as one of my favorite volumes of poetry, Rommel Drives On Into Egypt.