James Spillane


His face was always the same, placid as lakes, almost blank
His mind was always working, leaving you always working

Waking up in the middle of the night to oil paint pictures and drink beers, or to sleep in the middle of the day when you wanted to take him away

He wouldn't talk about the things you wanted him to talk about and he would talk about the things you didn't

“Your mother”

And there would be paints in the morning and these talks and trips that you would take in which he spoke of mountains, your grandfather, Walden, stars and much more… always talking and never talking

Your brain worked endlessly putting together all the streets and universes with faces and colors

He would wake in the morning after finding all your poems, he would have them all laid out in stacks on the ping pong table out in the sun room
“I like these, I don’t like these, let’s publish them”

I can see him, his arms mostly, sawing logs on Stuart Island, dragging kayaks around or writing in journals and perhaps the smell of him, always three of four days from a shower, and when he spoke, it was amazing, because even though he said so little and so much at the same time your mind was always supertankers, sea waves, Alaska, women, Flemish art and barbarian cultures.