Man. I could really use you right about now.
could give me this card (without making me barf) and somehow manage to make my heart completely melt.
Oh yeah, and it’s ‘the papa’ -cause um, yeah, Nate referred to me as ‘the mama’ when talking to the dogs. And then eventually to me.
So I just did it right back. And it stuck.
(Miss you, Nate)
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything. I’ve tried, but I just.. sometimes it makes me too sick to my stomach.. to even try to wrap my head around the fact that.. I’m posting Nate’s poetry, only because he’s not here to do it himself. That’s fucked up.
Anyway. This one Nate wrote while he was detoxing down on the farm in southern KY, shortly after his overdose. I knew right away that he wrote this poem then because I recognized that same pink ink and the paper from some letters he wrote me during that time. Weird that I remember that. Maybe cause it’s pink, and who could forget that? I don’t know.
You can always click on the image to enlarge it, but just in case you can’t read it…
I don’t have a team
I only dream
Alone I let off steam
Alone I get clean
Everything is so precise
It all comes at a price
It’s all very good
Isn’t that nice
It’s just one way of being
I hold strong.. but inside I’m pleading
I can’t trust what I’m seeing
I can only putt when I’m done
I’m now with me
I am what I be
Sometimes I’m so blind
I’m all I can see
When the earth and sky are dry
When the dust burns my face
The spirits come out and hide
My soul is in another place
And when empty is the feeling
And when I’m frightened way past healing
Love and life appear on the horizon
Love and strife keep the temperature risin’
Oh man, remembering the dates of first kisses or any relationship anniversary for that matter has never really been my strong suit. I don’t know why, I guess I just never think to commit that kind of stuff to some type of memory timeline. Anyway, the one date I do remember is April 13, 2001. Ten years ago today… The first time that Nate and I kissed, and I suppose the beginning of our journey together. It was that Friday during the riots, which is probably why I remember the date. The third night of the city-wide curfew.
Earlier that day, I was hanging out drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes with the crew at Sitwells. Nate stopped by and asked if I wanted to go for a ride. Hell, why not, right? So he waited out front in his truck while I paid my bill. As I was jumping into the truck, I looked up at him and he had this huge smile on his face. We turned the corner onto Telford and he stopped in the middle of the street and said “So, can I kiss you?”… I laughed. Then thought for a minute. Then said “Yeah, I guess”.
Anyway, so we kissed for a minute and then he just sat back and stared at me. I had no idea what just happened, it was kinda out of the blue as far as I was concerned. A car behind us starting honking, but it didn’t seem to phase him so I said “Nate…drive”. Nate being Nate just says “I don’t give a fuck.” Then kisses me again.
Me and Nate miserably sun poisoned, camping on Lake Cumberland.
And sometimes I kill
but it’s not my will
So I run and hide
in the smallest of pills
And I want to fuck your children
with my taxes
So when I let go
it’s Kharma that retracts it
And hair dos don’t and perfume doesn’t
Unless you’re alone with your cutest cousin
So, funny you may
and cuddly he wasn’t
I’ve wasted my day (not), but who doesn’t.
“Hair dos don’t and perfume doesn’t” …I love that line.
At Nate’s funeral, the Rabbi was speaking about character, and shared a nice post that Nate made to my Grandma’s memorial site after she died. I remember thinking “Wtf? Where’d he get that?” So afterwards, I asked him about it and he said that he found it on google. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, as my mind was a million miles away.
But last night I had a dream about the funeral and remembered what the Rabbi had said. Then it occurred to me that Nate did a lot of commenting/posting online in the past few years (mostly political stuff) and I should go see what shows up. It’s got to be hilarious. So I put him in the ol’ google, which sparked the beginning of my new “googling Nate” series.
Post number one: not a whole lot from Nate here, but I think this guy’s response to Nate’s comment is hilarious (at the very bottom of the page).
Back in late 2001, a few months after his heroin overdose, Nate and I took kind of a relationship break while he went to detox/live in a tipi in southern KY. Partially to do some soul searching and partially for other circumstantial reasons relating to the OD. Well, in January, only a couple months into our “break” I came home from school and he was sitting on my front stoop with his bag of stuff. No calling ahead, no warning, no nothing. Naturally, he wanted to pick up where we left off, but at the time I had just started dating someone else. He ended up moving in to Victor St. anyway. And needless to say, the next six or seven months that we were living together, but not together, were intense. Heated. And sparked a whole series poetry of it’s own.
I hate some of those poems. A lot of pain and confusion between the two of us during this time. Anyway, this poem’s not so bad, but there are others that hurt a lot that I’ll post later …as soon as I get rid of these knots in my stomach.
Up and Down
Magnets in the sand
Will the ends to a meeting
So simple the pulse in the hand
I know our hearts are beating
And fervor and fury and F words
The vibration is taking a new curve
It’s music, it’s light and chords
Emotional blankets undercover and swerve
Hey pretty girl do you go home with pigs
Do you dance at night, are you living
Does your eyesight seem full with stigs
Is it Judy’s tiny head you’re giving
Nay, the light is in the ocean
The elixir is nothing but right
Does the bottom seem like the potion
The motion when you’re feeling tight
Was he pale last night and drooling
Was it two sides negative again
Did the sand in your hand seem tooling
Did you wish you opened your eyes and then…
Did you wish the wish that is your dream…did you scream
Were you with the thing that you thought that seemed…you didn’t dream!
I don’t even know what that means anymore. I really don’t. For me, time completely stopped at about 6:30pm last Feb 1. Honestly, I can still blink and not be sure if a half second or whole day just passed.
Here’s another reflection of Nate’s mind.
Creamy skin landscaped over rolling hills
Candles laugh out shadows tickling through the trees
Candles becoming distant campfires
Refocusing toward thrills
I walk my fingers lightly, unfocused to her knees
Feet with miles under them, floating above my lips
Forgetting what food was, tasting her hungry hips
And no energy could be stronger
Than what I would receive
As I stretched my body longer
And wrapped her like grape leaves
The night just set in soothing
Slowly eclipsing the light
Our fingers entangled and moving
It never felt so right.
So today would have been Nate’s graduation from UC (bachelor of science in addiction studies). He wanted to work specifically in crisis counseling, helping addicts in an inpatient environment. The CCAT house (Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment) is especially close to his heart, so I think that’s really where he wanted to start. He planned to either go directly to grad school or get some experience first and then after a few years get his Masters in Psychology. His goal was to eventually start his own chemical dependency treatment…haven. It was his passion, really. My heart breaks not only for Nate, but for all the people still drowning who will now not get to experience having Nate impact their lives in ways they could never even imagine.
I thought I’d share these words from one of his professors who spoke them at his memorial at UC. I think she’s pretty right on.
Nathan was the kind of student that every teacher both fears and loves: studious, bright, articulate, and challenging. He spent much of his time learning and then questioning. A voracious reader, he sought information and reveled in new knowledge. His questioning nature, his need for dialogue allowed him to expand his ideas and deepen his perception.
He was the student who would do the extra project or help test a new idea so that it could run smoothly for the entire class. He was well-known for his emails to his instructors and friends. Emails filled with pensive exploration and unique perspective. Emails that gave us a brief glimpse into his unique way of processing information, his quick intellect, and his sincere desire to help others. And perhaps that is what we miss the most: Nathan challenged us to see things from many perspectives.
Committed to the causes of helping addicts find the promises of recovery and to the good stewardship of the earth, Nathan found joy in helping others. He was known for comforting the distressed and discomforting the comfortable.
Mary Beth Lodge
Professor of Addictions Studies
University of Cincinnati
My daily views of Nate working on homework; either reading or writing …or googling. Oh man, did he love google.
He was always 2 weeks ahead in every class. Not even kidding.