Friday, November 26, 2010

For Paul Williams

I dreamt you were accepted by an exceptional elder care facility.
And I was glad to get you out of the place where they know your name (Mr. Paul) but not who you are and don't have time to know anyways.
And they lose your glasses. Again today.

We moved you to the new place which was just down the street and found your bed which was an upper berth. The patients slept in layers, of which you were near the top.
They knew your name and the same lady nurse waited on you. Bathed you carefully and clothed you in warm clean clothes. They put your name on a cloth tag and sewed it into the fabric of every garment. Carefully and with precision.

I love you. But I don't know if you know what that means anymore. And anyways, I'm not there to tell you that everyday. I know you smile when I smile.

I don't know how we could afford this new facility, it must have been we won the lottery. Or a scholarship for artists that did great work in their lifetime. The MacArthur Grant for severely ill genius's.

I was happy to have you in a home, with a garden, that was as caring and skilled with their clients as you were with your work, your writing, your books: the hours spent listening to a single piece of music so you could learn it's language, it's secrets which you could so effortlessly convey to us readers. And we would think, you knew something that we'd been thinking all along, and 'how does he know that?' 'How does he know my language?' And through this, you sacrificed your hearing for us. So that we might come to understand, that we are a community of thought/of feeling within this beloved piece of music.

When I left you there, standing in the hallway, a nurse by your side. I saw you'd become a child. Only 3 feet tall. Helpless, innocent. Someone I felt torn, heartbroken to leave for the night. But I knew, behind it all, you were in good hands, better than my own.


  1. Thank you for your touching, heartfelt account. It is strange how most of us will 'diminish' towards the end of our lifes - Stranger still to even be alive and aware now. In Paul's case the moment of diminishing has telescoped down into a sharp 'now.' I am so sorry that his story contained these 'later chapters' - you and he deserved more - and better.
    I had a good talk with Paul one evening at a bar when there were just the two of us for a long strech. We talken of PKD, of Zen, of music, etc. Then we kept in touch for a while by letters. I am no one in HIS life, yet I have felt such loss. I cannot imagine how you have felt. I wish you strength and love - for you and the beautiful little one you both made.
    I can only offer you a virtual hug and wish you happier times ahead. Love, Nick x

  2. I've been "lurking" for awhile - I am a longtime fan of yours (your music meant/means so much to me still) and stumbled over this blog awhile back.

    This post moved me so - wanted you to know.

  3. Cindy,
    Please contact me. I have just read "Remember Your Essence". I need to help. Let's talk. You don't have to publish this post.


  4. Dear Sheryl,

    You can write me, if you'd like, at

    Glad to hear you read Remember Your Essence, a good one for sure. clb

  5. Cindy

    I only knew Paul to chat with a few times on the phone and by email, but he published a piece of mine on Louis Armstrong ten years or so ago, and he was not only a fabulous writer but also a wonderful person to write FOR. His enthusiasm and support was a rare thing. I have been following your blog for a few months and have been very moved by your words. You're both in my thoughts.

  6. totally moved by this....:)