What does It Mean When Your Friends Start Dying 1992/2013

What Does It Mean When You’re Friend Start Dying?

(On reading of the death of Red Mitchell)


What does it mean when your friends start to die –

Not only your friends but the people you’ve met?

I’m getting so tired of rhyming with dying,

Of trying to fathom the feel in my gut;

Of trying to find the most honest reaction –

Appropriate action – without adding “but…”

The chock, sudden absence,; unturnable, -backable,

Plans of “I’ll show them” that then become sackable;

Plans that seemed meaningful only just yesterday,

Losing the life force that held them in play.

Motives once framed in nobility’s name

That now sound profane, vain and fill me with shame;

Those I’d have given a million to stir,

To hear them once say,| “Oh, my heavens, it’s her!”

Those who had influence I yearned to touch;’

Those who I wanted to say, “She’s too much,

She’s the best!”  Their souls are at rest.

No one to impress.  Their bodies are gone.

Importance is less than that speck on the wall.

In fact, their importance is nothing at all.

But the memory lingers on.

What does it mean when your friends start to die;

And not always friends just the people you’ve met ?

It changes the places you wanted to get.

And parents? That’s worse!

You’re left there to nurse one more question of where

They are now.  You may curse

But there’s nothing to do, no thing to reverse.

The famous, the eminent names that you read –

One day when you pick up the papers, they’re dead.

One of life’s hiccups.  You hardly think twice.

A blending of fate and the throwing of dice.

You think about cause and effect, and you sigh

“Some of my friends are beginning to die.

My generation has started to go.”

My bass playing colleague dropped dead on the eighth.

I’m trying to take, even welcome that fate,

Think it’s my real home, deepen that faith,

Change the old patterns that soiled a past –

When it comes, as it must, say “At last, God, at last!”

It ain’t easy.

What Does It Mean When Your Friends Start Dying 11.11.1992

Birth, Death & In Between; Special People Special Occasions (Red Mitchell); Vaguely About Music II;

Arlene Corwin


Unpublished Notes to What Does It Mean When Your Friends Start Dying?


Headline, breadline, literal deadline.

“Oh”, I sigh. “Me oh my!

All of my friends have started to die.

Maybe it helps to accept, even welcome…

Finding a faith in what may be my real home…

Change my behavior,

Cast sins to the wind

Passed/future de-sinned.

(found 3.11.2013)
















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