A friend of mine from Kate's and my time in the LA/Hollywood poetry scene, Donn Deedon, died recently at the age of 67. The venue was Poetic License and it was held in various cafes around the LA area, Pasadena and Hollywood mainly.
Donn always wore a fedora with long mop of grey hair cascading down with a goatee. He smoked cigars. He was a good poet, though at the moment I have to admit that I don't remember any of his poems. But then I did and still do have a love hate relationship with poetry readings. Donn though was one of the poets the definitely made Poetic License a good place to read and hang out.
Donn was about living life to the fullest, I think he probably crammed more life in his 67 years then many people who live well beyond that. That lust for life made him very enjoyable to be around, it also made him quite opinionated. He had experienced various situations of life. I seem to remember he understood though that there was a cost to this sort of life, a cost he was willing to pay. I seem to remember him being critical of the laziness of some of the younger poets. They looked up to Donn but he seemed to think at times that they weren't willing to do the hard work to experience life to the full.
I don't think I will forget that broad faced smile that often crossed his face, nor the selective way he would reveal things about his life. There was always a bit of mystery to Donn Deedon.
However, we differed on what constituted a full and exuberant life, not all experience is good or necessary. Not knowing how he died I don't know if his approach to life contributed to his early (or so it seems to me) death, but I would not be surprised if that was the case.
My life is richer for having known Donn Deedon.
Lord Have Mercy.