Aftertude, or The Five Stages of Loss: Remembering Jake Adam York
By Simmons B. Buntin
Jake Adam York
August 10, 1972 – December 16, 2012
Because there is blood streaming from his side, a man is screaming. This is not a metaphor. Because the wound has split the taught muscle beneath his arm, he is flailing like a snared fish, the panorama of his tattoos turned to bright scales among the dark spray. Because I am not the angler, I am a bystander. Because I am only a bystander, I do not dial 9-1-1 when the man stumbles into the coffee shop on Colfax and Lipan, though others do. Because I am killing time at a coffee shop on Wednesday morning waiting for the memorial service of Jake Adam York, I am a witness. Though I am one of many witnesses, I am in this alone.
I have been reading Jake’s essay “Recovery: Learning the Music of History” because recovery is the right word for how we attempt to go about our lives after someone we care about suddenly dies, as my friend Jake Adam York did on December 16, following a massive stroke. Because in that long essay I can return in some small sense to the man I’ve known and admired for twenty-two years, and because even if we can’t truly recover, his words become a living text. Because they offer renewal.
More From and About Jake Adam York in Terrain.org
“Recovery: Learning the Music of History”
By Jake Adam York
Terrain.org Issue 19 : Fall/Winter 2006
Three Poems: “Panoramic: Landscape With Repeating Figures,” “Double Exposure,” and “Elegy for Little Girls”
By Jake Adam York
Terrain.org Issue 17 : Fall/Winter 2005
Poetry in Context, in Craft
Simmons B. Buntin reviews Murder Ballads, poems by Jake Adam York
Terrain.org Issue 18 : Spring/Summer 2006
Featured image by Bob Adelman. Birmingham, Alabama, 1963. Firemen turn high-powered hoses against peaceful demonstrators, who are knocked down and skid across the grass in Kelly Ingram Park. By coming together and holding on to one another, the demonstrators are able to stand up to the fire hoses. When the firemen found they could no longer knock down the united protestors, they turned off their hoses. Photo is used on the cover of Jake Adam York’s A Murmuration of Starlings.