Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May 23: Dr. P, Stuart Kestenbaum, "Prayer for the Dead"

Prayer for the Dead

by:  Stuart Kestenbaum

The light snow started late last night and continued
all night long while I slept and could hear it occasionally
enter my sleep, where I dreamed my brother
was alive again and possessing the beauty of youth, aware
that he would be leaving again shortly and that is the lesson
of the snow falling and of the seeds of death that are in everything
that is born: we are here for a moment
of a story that is longer than all of us and few of us
remember, the wind is blowing out of someplace
we don’t know, and each moment contains rhythms
within rhythms, and if you discover some old piece
of your own writing, or an old photograph,
you may not remember that it was you and even if it was once you,
it’s not you now, not this moment that the synapses fire
and your hands move to cover your face in a gesture
of grief and remembrance.


A very good man died last night.

James Panowski taught theater at Northern Michigan University for most of his career, and he influenced the lives of so many young actors.  He was a generous, kind, and loving person.  My fondest memory of Dr. P came right after I published my book of poems.

I gave a book launch reading at a local venue.  It was well attended, and I got a lot of press in the local news outlets.  The next day, in my mailbox at the university, I received an envelope from Dr. P.  Inside was a laminated copy of an article clipped out of the local newspaper about my book.  Accompanying this was a handwritten note from Dr. P:

Dear Marty,
Couldn't make your reading last night because I was in rehearsal.  Kudos on your book.  You are a star!
All my best,
Dr. P
Saint Marty is giving Dr. P a standing ovation this evening.  He was and is a star.

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