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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 unexpected now.
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.
Eric Gundry.
June 15, 1965 - May 22, 2002.


©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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