In Memoriam

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Kevin departed this earthly plane on Tuesday morning, January 18th at about 7am.

He was down on his luck, being fired from his University job in Birmingham for messing around with a young student . . . the rumors being much larger than the truth of course.

I had sent him food money, and he was joyous at moving to California. Kevin and I were giving it another go around. I was helping him move here by the end of February, and had planned a visit to Birmingham on Feb. 4. According to his neighbor, ex-marine Al, who was feeding him every night, and playing "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" with him, Kevin was elated, and full of hope, having all of his current dreams and life dashed against the rocks of reality by his "trickster" acts once again . . .

Tuesday morning he walked across the street from the high rise he lived in to buy some food at the little local convenience store. He was full of alcohol . . . and starving at about 6am. He went to the back of the store and picked up some of the cooked chicken they have there, and then grabbed up a couple of pieces of the raw pot roast meat they had packaged, and evidently put one of the pieces of meat in his mouth on the way to the register. He got there to check out only to find out he had left his wallet at home . . . the check-out person viewed his unshaven face, and his choking gestures, and his lack of money as evidence that he was just a homeless dude, drunk, and kind of acting weird. Kevin walked out the door into the street, to try and clear his throat, sat on the curb . . . no one thought to slap him on the back, because of course, he was just an undeserving homeless guy. By the time the paramedics got there it was too late. As simple, and as off-the-wall as that!

His neighbor, Al, was looking out of his window on Tuesday morning, getting ready to get his daily coffee and newspaper at the little store, and saw a bustle of activity, paramedics and such, and decided to wait a few minutes until it was quiet. He finally went across the street and saw a person covered with a sheet on the sidewalk. He asked what happened, and they all said "oh, just some homeless guy" . . . he had no idea it was Kevin. Because he had no ID on him, no one knew about it until Thursday morning. Evidently, according to Al, he observed the covered body on the sidewalk for about 3 hours before they finally took him away. The police finally ID'd him by his fingerprints, and phoned his father. Thank God he had been arrested a few times, eh?

Al went down on Thursday, and asked the individuals in the store who waited on him about what happened . . . he said "didn't it occur to one of you to like strike him on the back, or do something?" to which they mumbled . . . "weird . . . homeless . . . don't know anything . . . what to do . . . " like that.

So, we have lost him.

We are going to have a Friends Memorial on Sunday, February 6th at 10am till ? in Montgomery at the Greenwood Cemetery, where we can all celebrate his life, his writings, pour wine on his grave if we wish, gnash our teeth and cry . . . and go out for coffee afterwards.

Kevin and I spent many an hour reading Rumi . . . as you can see from his Coleman Barks essays. I just want to say this about his passing, sweet soul . . .

As a lovesick Nightingale, you flew among the owls . . .
      Then came the scent of the Rose Garden . . .
And the Rose lured you to fly home . . .
      To the fragrance of love!

Flying towards thankfulness, You become the Rare bird
      With one wing made of fear
      And one of Hope . . .

There is a kiss we want our entire life.
      The kiss of spirit on the body—
Lovers leave traces of where they have been . . .
      The cry of the Anguished heart is the doorway to God.

For Kevin . . . anguished tender heart . . . sublime sense of humor . . . refined sensibilities . . . wild, trickster, bold and rebellious nature . . . gutsy, sexy man . . . time as we know it is over. We will all miss him terribly. A deep loss and tragedy.

Hope to see you at the Memorial, and he would greatly enjoy it if some of you stay after the celebration of his life, and have wanton sex on his grave . . . that would make him smile!

As Kevin would say,

Love to you all,

Courtney Brooke
cbrkevinmcgowin [at] hotmail.com

A Ridiculous Accident