Paul Squires

I am struck by news of Paul’s passing (thank you for letting us know, Gabrielle). His wit and poetry may just outlive us all.

In one of our discussions about jazz and writing we were talking about the struggle of writing. Paul was instantly able to understand, and offer his usual keen insight:

“I know that feeling of struggle with it that comes along now and then. I find it’s usually about doing something new or pushing a boundary of skill or something. And then sometimes its just that I want to write but there is nothing in my head worth writing, haha.”

He told me this one time after I’d been complaining that I was full of the desire to write but basically empty of any good words. What he said was intuitively brilliant and I thought to myself, yes! of course, that’s it. Why haven’t I been doing this for years? Whenever I hit a wall with poetry – switch to piano. Or guitar. Or prose, or whatever. Something, anything else.

Thank you for that advice, Paul, among everything else.

I’m going to post a short poem I’ve written tonight, but if anyone feels it inappropriate, please let me know and I’ll remove it.


Every Single One

for Paul Squires

Jesus, Paul
everything was chugging along nicely
and I knew you were there
working on another piece
with your usual
most welcome wit
and irreverence
and I knew you were listening
to jazz, writing jazz

you showed me Moondog
and Takeshi
and so what if I could have
found them somewhere else
you showed me

and so I listen to Bird’s Lament
again and wish
that I’d had more time
to ask you
just how many questions
who knows?
like what accent
you were using in your podcasts?
but there is so much
too much to be missed
but thank you

every one of your poems
made me stop
and read again –
every single one.

Comment Box Poem #1

at last frost is only an echo,
where a hoary hand
once brushed tombstones
and pinched buds, jasmine
now crosses the yard

darkness disperses
as God’s curtain parts
a scurrying of shadows
revealing the light
where reflections shine

but too far.
God’s hand retreats
leaving the vacuity of heavens
exposed for deserted souls to

regret’s futility compared
to constellations constant

caught in a child’s hand,
the whirl of a catseye
tumbling into the drain
winking out
in the black.

it was always going to end
like this
blacked out
vomit and piss


Thanks to everyone who jumped in to the first comment box poem! After a long delay (sorry) here’s the text, though it doesn’t read as smoothly as it could with the links where I’ve put them, I’ll try and adjust it soon.