by Terry Berne
"Dark Building" by Josette Urso
I find I am becoming more depressed as the reality of Marc's death sinks in. Because I saw little of Marc these past years, there are many things that I don't understand about his life. When we were together we influenced each other, and I could see the origins and consequences of his motivations, and understand to a degree how his character led him to make certain decisions and take the paths he took.
Marc always represented to me an incredible life force, I always felt I lived most when in his presence, both for the things we did and for the thoughts we thought, but above all for the thoughts he implanted in me or directed me towards, and for the things he inspired me to do. His uncompromising vision of life was a vision I could not always follow, mainly because I didn't have the courage he had, but also because I didn't have the insecurities he had which were equally responsible for his drives.
I think Marc SAW on a deeper and more profound level than anyone else I have known. I think what he saw scared him a lot. I do not believe Marc wanted to die. I think Marc wanted to live, but was unable to reconcile his fear, his insight, his hunger, his disgust at stupidity and hypocrisy, his appreciation of beauty, his wisdom, his understanding of life and, perhaps especially, art, with the fact that mostly life IS compromise, hypocrisy, stupidity, fear and all those other things. I think Marc got off track and was unable to find his way back. I think his own genius, his own inner torments, consumed him, and made him forget, or prohibited him from being able to accept, that all of us equally are dark stars living to a certain extent in our own separate universes. That Marc became so dependent in so many ways on friends and family, so incapable of mastering life, his environment, his relationships, is for me the biggest mystery, and is so far from the Marc I became friends with - how anemic that word sounds to describe the co-penetration we achieved - that I can only think of it as a consequence of his addiction, fruit of his hunger and the sense of incapacity which I hint at above, and the ultimate damage that alcohol and drugs finally wreaked.
Marc did not want to die. Marc wanted to live, but life I think let him down, perhaps more than it lets us all down, but not because life itself undermines us or hoodwinks us, but because our own expectations are so often so far from the mark, our desire so often irreconcilable with reality, a reality that in itself is rich enough for any scenario, if it weren't for our own crude inability to accept it. I think Marc had a hard time accepting crude reality, just because it is crude, and so he took refuge in analgesics like alcohol and drugs, but not for long in the innocent way we did when we were young and avid for experience. Part of my pain at his loss (our loss) is that I know I both compromised with life, and moved on, that at a certain point we were no longer cohorts, that Marc continued to do battle with all the windmills that he encountered, because nothing should stand in the way of truth, of purity, of honesty. Marc refused in a sense to grow up because growing up means letting go of hard won beliefs, of long defended principles, of holy crusades, and of one's warrior self. Marc refused to give up a pinch of his vitality, and found no way to channel it toward other outcomes.
Marc went to the desert alone because the desert was a place of healing for him, a sacred and poetic landscape where thoughts and perhaps answers could bloom like wildflowers alongside the austere beauty of the rocks, the sand, the cactus, the sunsets and dawns. But Marc was also an incredibly social person, whose personality and savage humor bloomed in the company of stimulating people. He liked nothing better than to recount his crazy adventures, to laugh at his own misadventures, or to talk about the beauty of landscapes he had experienced.
I feel Marc and I were linked in a special way, and that I consciously or not betrayed that link by not sticking closer to him, and by letting him get beyond my influence. I find now that so much of my life, my present life, thoughts, goals, self-deceptions, likes, dislikes, desires, passions, and almost any tiny glimpses of wisdom that I might have been granted, have their origin or some relation to Marc, that now they are all somehow objectless, without a destination, without that friend who uniquely could have understood.
As I began saying, many mysteries remain for me about Marc, mysteries that even in life would perhaps never have been resolved, and that now only our own reflections can help to elucidate. I just keep asking myself, What was that all about, Marc? Why didn't your writing offer you enough release so that you could live a life, if not like others, at least sustainable. What about all you taught me of how to navigate through this absurd, stupid, beautiful, painful experience called life? We all get lost; life is finding your way; here we are, don't lose sight of us, hear our voices. Marc, over here...
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