- I received the news a few hours ago that John Gardiner has died, after having a heart attack behind the wheel. It's a little surreal. I've known him most of my life, and loved him like a brother. Even – maybe especially – when we were feuding. He could be an amazing person, and he could be difficult, and I think, ultimately, all he really wanted was to live a quiet life in Laguna Beach, recite Shakespeare and write poems, and I suppose he achieved that.
- John was an excellent poet, very influenced by the Beats and the like of Gary Snyder and Galway Kinnell. His poems were often simple and prosaic, but there was a deep layer of spirituality to them. He revered nature, and it showed in his writing. He could also be caustic and funny – such as in the poem embedded below – but inevitably, he was drawn to the moon and the tides.
- John was there the first time I read poetry in public. He remembered me as a skinny goth kid who was equal parts terrified and arrogant, and he still reached out a hand to me anyway. I'll always love him a little for that. Over the years, we'd go on to read in each other's series frequently. He came to Portland with us for the National Poetry Slam Finals, although I don't think he and slam ever fit well together. I read Shakespeare in bookstores and art galleries for him,and enjoyed it as much as I did reading my own work. there are too many great memories, and a few terrible ones, and right now all I wish was that I had a chance to say goodbye. I've been through this enough now to know that you only get that luxury once in awhile.
- I was joking earlier that I always expected him to die at the end of a Shakespearean soliloquy, timed just so that no one would realize he was gone for a good 10-15 minutes. I think it's a thought that would have amused him.
- The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th' occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
- Good night, my old friend. You'l be sorely missed.