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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Masuda is Dead

Masuda is dead
and I am sometimes
caught off guard
knowing that he isn't
in his wheelchair
somewhere I Oregon,
a phone call away.

I mourn because
sometimes I avoided his calls
because I knew he was going
to ask me for money
and how do you say no
to a man with
an incurable illness?

When I was an atheist
he told me I was
one of the most
Christian people he knew.

We went through
graduate school together,
he also wrote poetry
and he was able to crank out
entire books
thanks to the manic part of
his bipolarity.

He was Vince Neal
until 18, when he
accidentally learned
he was adopted
from a Japanese-Norwegian
couple named Masuda.

He was a red-headed
mountain of a man
who loved Jesus
and still considered himself
married, a Catholic,
even though his wife
threw him out
a decade ago
for philandering.

In many ways
he was a cautionary tale,
but he was also
just another broken kid
who wrote brutally honest poetry
about social injustice
about the challenge of the Christ
about getting raped at five years old.

Now
he’s free
from the vasculitis,
from the diabetes,
from the poverty,
from this moribund
life sentence.

The last thing
he told me
was to read
“Ragman and
Other Cries of Faith”
and I told him
I would.

It arrived
months ago,
but I haven’t
opened it,
as if somehow
my reading it
would somehow
close the door
on him forever.

I’ll get to it
someday,
when I’m not so
weepy.






















Me and Johnny Masuda, August 2005.

[If you want to buy Johnny's book, I think it's still available at lulu.com .]

26 comments:

  1. This feels really honest and real. I understand about not being able to read the book, about that effort, however nonsensical, to keep the loss from being real.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words and your understanding.

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  2. Really an emotional piece, Mosk. And sorry for your loss. I do hope you read the book sometime. It will be like having a conversation with him again perhaps.

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    1. Thanks, yes perhaps it will be.

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  3. I can so understand.. reading the book would like a severed connection. Love the tragic story you tell.. as many people there are so many layers... maybe that's why we write poetry

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    1. Maybe I'll just start the book... thanks.

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  4. Your emotions of grief and loss have been portrayed beautifully in this poem..!
    xoxo

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    1. Thanks, at least you can't see my watery red eyes.

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  5. love it! great reflections on love, and a man of love. i would have loved him. love, love, love, isn't that all there is?

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    1. Yes, and love is all you need! Thanks! - mosk

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  6. You are a good storytelling poet. I feel like I knew him and actually did know someone a lot like him who also wrote raw poetry and died prematurely from illnesses.

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    1. Thanks, perhaps they're both friends in the afterlife.

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  7. This is an incredible tribute... really real, full of heart, overflowing. It struck me in my belly. He was a cautionary tale, he was a broken kid. Of course he was. We know him.
    xoxo

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. He was full of life and had a heart big as the sky.

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    2. Yes. We know him.

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  8. real-raw full of love...beautiful on so many levels, Mosk...thank you for sharing this. ♥

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  9. Real raw, full off love and beautiful all describe Masuda. Thanks, Mosk

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  11. I, too understand! You will find time for the book-when you are ready~ I am so sorry for your loss~ A lovely tribute!

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    1. Thanks so much, I'll get to that book yet.

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  12. to your friend, Mosk, and to you, for this shared memory ~

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    1. Thanks, grapes! You're very kind.

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  13. A beautiful, honest tribute which gave me a sense of your friend. Buying the ebook.

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    1. Great! Thanks for the kindness.

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  14. How beautifully you portray both Masuda's challenging circumstances and your grief over his life and his death. So very well done.

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    1. Thanks, he was a great guy - like an older big brother.

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