Sunday, May 10, 2009
I thought maybe if I read Shells again, and Eric read it with me, then it would turn out that nothing happened to Craig. I thought perhaps if we listened to Jeff Buckley enough times and drank lots of wine, Craig would somehow be magically okay from these efforts. I even thought that maybe if I avoided writing the words that Craig was gone, then maybe it wouldn't be so. Eric and I (as I’m sure so many others) tried to wish him into safety and continued life, even as Craig was, unbeknownst to all of us, already days gone.
Craig's partner Rebecca posted on Facebook that evening that the search team found evidence that Craig suffered a leg injury, and very soon after that, fell over a precipice. It was a fall he could not have survived. They would continue to search for Craig, but there was no hope of finding him alive. He was gone. Rebecca went on to address her love for Craig, love that was unconditional and lasting. The following morning, Rebecca's post was gone from public view, but was quoted by Ben Fulton of the Salt Lake Tribune in his article Poet fell to death from cliff.
I have seen on the Find Craig Arnold Facebook site that people have begun sharing their personal stories about Craig, people whose names I recognize from another time, another place. Most of the recollections are funny, many of them kind, some of them mischievous. That’s the way I remember Craig, funny, kind and mischievous. He was quite a remarkable fellow. I mourn the loss of Craig, his life and his poetry.
So, when I close my eyes and think of Craig, how do I remember him best? Craig is the “come on” inscriptions he wrote in everyone’s copy of Shells that evening at his rock-concert-like reading and book signing in the Denver of 2001. Craig is a pitcher of mojitos at Cuba Cuba (and another pitcher to for good measure). Craig is the warm pavement of my Capital Hill streets. Craig is the spiciest jungle curry on the menu of Tommy’s Thai. Craig is the intoxicating anise flavor of absinthe. Craig is Jeff Buckley singing Lilac Wine with a voice so sad & sweet, he’ll make you cry.