for May 29, 2002
Dark Eyes From A Dark Place
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman
Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love spent her
Memorial Day Saturday upholstering the dashboard of a
1960 Catalina with faux snakeskin. 'My stars,' you're
thinking, 'that doesn't sound like My Tortuffo,' and
you're exactly right. It doesn't. It's not. Sometimes
we find ourselves doing things we don't expect. Your
Black And White Cookie is doing something terribly
Zillions of years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the
interstates, Your Bread Pudding wandered into the
Court Tavern in New Brunswick. During the day,
lawyers, office workers and recent houseguests of the
county lined the bar. Bartender Joe Burke greeted Your
Lemon Meringue Pie at the door with a Bud and a cup of
coffee every Friday lunchtime. Joe Burke was a
handsome gent with an equally handsome twin, but with
a wicked glint in his eye and a gentle nature. We were
destined to be friends. One night, during the
Pleistocene Epoch, at the same bar, a friend whispered
that Joe Burke's body had been found. Joe'd had little
time left with a frightening medical condition, and
he'd known all along. But, as the friend whispered
awful news in Your Cupcake's ear, the Court Tavern's
bartender du noir stared her straight in the face.
She believed the bartender knew. She believed as she
stared into his dark eyes that his stern mien warned
her: You are Court Tavern. Keep it together.
To find oneself silently named a Member of the Tribe
during a moment of crisis is to feel honored and
singled out. The dark-eyed bartender was Eric Gundry,
well-known in a small city as E-Gun, architect of
unbelievably brilliant Court Tavern live music shows,
mural painter and poet. If you were in New Brunswick
to see punk rock during the eighties and nineties, you
probably saw his paintings, t-shirts or murals. If
not, it's because you were drunk and lying under a
stray El Camino. If you didn't hear him on WRSU's
authoritative Overnight Sensations, your head was
still in the Jack Daniels bottle on Sunday nights.
Bad news travels like light waves, but last week, news
of Eric Gundry's untimely death crept hither and yon.
One had no idea with whom to confer, because everyone
didn't know, everyone hadn't known Eric Gundry, and
everyone who had known Eric Gundry might've had...a
problem. In the mid-nineties, Eric Gundry got caught
in the resurgence of heroin.
Your Cherries Jubilee at this moment takes her cue
from dark eyes in a dark bar: Keep it together. Our
tribe includes exiles of all stripes. Heroin is a
filthy thing to do to one's body. What happened before
heroin and what happened after, when he tried to clean
up, is far more important than what happened during.
That lifetime is over. The moment beyond begins, and
begins again. Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True
Love did not expect to find herself writing an elegy,
but this is music, and life.
June 15, 1965 - May 22, 2002.
©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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