Sunday, July 25, 2010

[Updated] Markey Hayden Bena, 1956-2010

We received the sad news this weekend that Markey Hayden Bena has died.

[Markey, (center) here with Slum Goddess and Johnny "Crutch"]

There are many rumors circulating about what may have happened to Markey. Some basic facts: He was found unconscious several days ago on Seventh Street. He never regained consciousness and died later at a hospital. In an e-mail to Bob Arihood, Markey's aunt said that there was only one mark on his head, which resulted from a fall onto the sidewalk grating. According to his aunt, the NYPD investigated the incident and concluded that he simply fell and hit his head. (Markey was prone to falling down, particularly when he had a few too many drinks.)

As for rumors, followers of Bob's Neither More Nor Less will recall several violent incidents in the past in which Markey had been attacked and beaten by a group of young males. (The first post on this topic was dated May 15, 2009.) In Bob's estimation, Markey had been attacked and beaten five times in the past year. Yesterday, on the hottest day of the year, there was talk in Tompkins Square Park that Markey had been pummeled by baseball-bat-wielding thugs and other scenarios that we'll refrain from circulating.

Regardless, while it's possible that something more happened here, the facts presented to Markey's family show that he died as a result from a fall. So until some further evidence is produced...

Markey was a friend to many people... and the neighborhood has lost another fixture.

Friday night, some of Markey's friends scrapped together enough money to drink to him with 17 King Cobras and a PBR. Friends have erected a memorial for Markey at 224E. Seventh St. near Avenue C.

Updated: A reader said detectives were in Tompkins Square Park this morning asking questions about Markey...

Melanie has a nice photo of Markey in the Park from this past March...

There is family memorial planned for:
Saturday, Sept. 11 at 5 p.m.
Andrett Funeral home, 353 2nd Avenue (at 20th Street)

Thanks to Bob Arihood for the two photos and assistance in gathering the facts for this post.


Melanie said...

RIP Markey--he was a kind person who liked to sing and play guitar and had a band when he was living in Cali and he told me once his upbringing was cool and he liked Cali too. This is sad.

Eden Bee said...

I am REALLY saddened by this. He was a good guy.

East Village Eats said...

Oh Man, that really fucking sucks! I used to see him pretty much every day. A totally nice guy... RIP.

Bob Arihood said...

Grieve the estimate of 5 attacks was just for attacks on 7th street . There were in fact many more if attacks in other places are included .

Malcontent said...

Adios amigo. Thanks for everything. I didn't forget most of it. I won't forget to put roses on your grave.

Anonymous said...

So why was this guy such a target all the time? Just curious.

Liz said...

So very sad. I was an old friend of Markey's from high school (his girlfriend in the early 1970s when we were teenagers), lost touch with him in the late 1990s and learned he was living on the streets after I read about him being attacked last summer. He was a wonderfully talented performer, writer, and all-round sweetheart — my condolences to all his friends from the city who spoke of him here.

Liz Hand

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see this blog site. glad to know that there are eyes and ears for the east village. it troubles me to learn that detectives were seeking more information after Markey's aunt had been told something 'conclusive'.
I knew Markey. Real Well. I have to say I wasn't one to know him to be a falling down drunk, if only because he rarely had the $ to get trashed. Soooo....I believe someone knows what really happened.
It was told to one detective his name was Igor by a person near Markey's then found corpse.
It is entirely possible that he DID fall.....he had been extremely weakened by the beatings he took.
It was said by the final Dr. in attendance he had a strong heart. And thus he did, if only to endure. And so, please, whoever wss around in the last hours, minutes, second, could you please tell what happened. just so those who tried to help him can have some closure.
I'm reeling still......

ambo said...

I went to school with Markey, and this news fills me with regret. Not just for myself, because I lost touch with him for so many years, but for the world, because it is now devoid of a truly unique soul. Markey was so many things, sweet and gentle, talented and inquisitive, intelligent and rebellious. I will remember him always. Sleep well, my old friend. See you soon.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update - the chronology of what probably happened on 7th St, near Markey's office. Thanks. It's possible, and a comfort, to consider there were no violent moments before Markey left the office to go home.
He WAS a neighborhood fixture.
The concern sprung from his demise is that he did have a mouth and maybe, just maybe he p.o.'d the wrong person.
Markey wasn't a gardener, or a squatter, or an artist, or a crusty, or a...he was a freed spirit living each day as it came. Oh sure, he'd goof on those who were on their way to work saying "sucker" - the mouth part of him - It's a bit morenthat.
Markey cared deeply about the world and it's population.
Markey sought solace in his comfort with the routine of the ritual catholic mass and the reading of the newspaper(s).
He left action for others while he considered.
Markey's modus operandi was your only as sick as your secrets - perhaps he had such a big mouth cuz he wouldn't keep it in - he voiced his considerations.
He stayed on the streets and in the shelter (which was in part provided for him with the help of a loving aunt) never getting too intimate with others.
Markey was always there for us in the e.vil.
Didn't ask you to give him more than spange for a coby and would debate issues as he was a propagator of ideas, but never wanted anyone to change for him.
He wore it upfront, rather stylishly.
I'll suggest he parted asking "Don't do anything that'll f-ck us all up." (those secrets, ya know)
No whitewashing here, Markey was having trouble in the last months that I knew him.
I write to remind us that he was a viable person since he promoted himself as a drunk and I'm also responding to the comments and blogging.
Thank you.
The e.vil is a particular place, and Markey Hayden Bena was an entity within.
He cared
and we cared for Markey.
R.I.P. Markey Bena Hayden 1956-2010

Anonymous said...

I first met Markey in 1974, and we stayed in close touch for the next 30 years.

When he started his final decline, I let him stay at my apartment for extended periods because he had nowhere else to go. I finally had to ask him to leave because he wouldn't clean himself up and get back on his feet. I lent him a considerable amount of money, because he had been cut off from his trust fund due to legal reasons.

This is very sad news to me. I tried to help him when he needed it, before he became totally homeless, but, he didn't want to be helped.

He was a smart and talented man, but, his recklessness finally overtook him.

Farewell, old friend...

Liz said...

I met Markey in 1971, in high school, saw him only intermittently after he graduated. He was whip-smart, a voracious reader who loved rock and roll, and yes, he had a mouth on him — he was Anti-authority with a capital A. This past April I found a box that held his letters to me, a time capsule I hadn't opened since the 1970s. He was incredibly articulate even then — we both wanted to be writers, and his letters show how gifted he was. In one he wrote about how much he loved California and its beaches, and I like to think of him there. Shantih, my green-eyed boy.

Grogan said...

Squeeze is at least the 4th of my friends to be claimed too young by alcohol & drugs. He was perhaps the absolute most fun person to hang out with I ever knew...because you never knew what he was going to do or what he was going to come out with. I also think that, after all he'd been through and all the risks he'd taken, he'd be pissed off, then amused, by the irony of meeting his demise by simply falling down.

Sid Monroe said...

I am very saddened to learn of this. Markey was a close friend, a one-time roommate, and an intregal part of my early Grogan said, you simply never knew what he was about to do, but it was always going to be fun. I managed to stay in touch until about 9 years ago.I am especially distressed to read about the recent beatings, no living thing should experience such treatment. Dear Markey, rest well, my friend. Peace at last.

Rick Lee said...

When I first moved to LA in early 1982 I was still very much into the music that we all shared throughout our years at Hobart. I just shifted to a new scene on the West Coast in spots like Madame Wong's West, The Music Machine, The Roxy and... Club Lingerie. One night I ventured solo into Hollywood to see The Circle Jerks at Club Lingerie. As I worked my way through the throng and got an elbow in at the bar, low and behold I saw Markey several feet away. I went up to him, made eye contact and we embraced. We ended up getting quite wasted together reminiscing about our days in Geneva and digging the sounds that evening . . . all-in-all a great time. I will never forget him and this will be my lasting memory. So sad to hear of his passing.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

This is so, so heart goes out to those who knew and loved Markey.

Lis Cherr said...

I dated Markey in college; never saw him again after that although somehow I thought we'd meet up eventually, if only to look back on some wild times. Markey had charisma and talent in abundance, and I'm sad to learn that he was never able to overcome his demons. Greetings to my fellow Tauians; y'all have been on my mind since I heard about Markey - may he rest, finally, in peace.

Anonymous said...

Markey was a true one of a kind. There is no one that I know that holds a candle to him as far as intelligence and wit, and they have homes and bathe and aren't addicts.

Imagine that. Imagine preferring the company of a dirty homeless drunk to that of anybody else you know. That was Markey. Good and interesting company for those with sophisticated taste.

Brilliant. Funny. A rare one in every and any community. And stupid, naive, and an asshole even, but Markey had class, even when he stank. He stank of class too and he never tried or cared.

I don't see him ever hitting anybody, but I've seen him spew spittle from his big mouth when pissed off. I've even been on the other side of it.

Seeing his picture above is bringing this home just now, and I'm sad. Real sad. Others I know are in true bereavement.

He also had a child-like quality that I know pulled at my maternal strings, not that I didn't make him reach into his pocket to chip in for beer. Maybe it was that mother thing in me he responded to.
Where was his, by the way?

Dead from a fall? Markey was always getting the shit kicked out of him or breaking his own bones by doing cartoonish stuff like jumping into the East River to bathe... Dead from a fall to the ground head injury? Hopefully the jury is still out.

And is it true he's still in the morgue?

Unedited. Incomplete. I'm not in the mood for vanity.

Bon Voyage, Markey Hayden Bena

Parker said...

No matter what, you are still my brother and I will always love you.

Vicky Rose said...

Vicky Rose
Marky was my boyfriend when I hit the scene at CBGBs. He gave me a crash course in New wave and Punk Rock without ever meaning to. He connected all the music history dots as wellas the socila impact of it all. Man, we had great conversations, saw a lot of great shows, did a lot of serious drinking (which I taught HIM about)and other stuff which shall remain private. He had that great laugh which could really get me going either way (depending on which way he directed it). He could aggravate the piss put of people because he had a near matchless vocabulary backed by a gimlet insight. He could make the truth hurt. i loved watching him perform...he poured his heart into it...he LOVED being a punk. Adios Markey.

Anonymous said...

Markey's remains are being processed as remains are processed. It takes some time because of all the bureaucratic stuff that goes into the management of a corpse. It's the Law.
I am sure Markey would have liked a sky burial tho it's not available to the family. He didn't have a will of any sort thus the final days are handled by his aunt, taking care.
His mother refused to speak with him at the end due to his alcoholism.
Please, mothers, always be good to your sons. Let us not perpetuate the cross of dysfunction. Markey's heart bled at the thought of his mother rejecting him.
It may be that some of you know me, as I spent the last years with Markey. He lived with my family. I am responding to the posts as anonymous as I am with the jury still out. Because number one, I don't like the police and number two I don't like cops.
I'll choose the two scenario route. He may have fallen, or he may not have fallen.
Yes, he was weakened by the blows to the head. His vascular system was stressed by the hardening of his liver. He was cirrhotic, it messes with the blood pressure and also makes vessel bursting on impact much more likely.
I am in shock. Markey had no desire to go. He was relaxed in who he was. He had made peace with is choices. Problem was in the final months and days he was losing it. And he was vulnerable.
He's left behind some sweet sweet friends. It's also brilliant to read the posts of his former/lost friends.
Markey would've been a great blogger. He employed typists (myself include) to get his word out.
He loved his aunt and the kids of his last days not naming names but he did love the younger ones which speaks to his desire to go on.
Markey, you sh*t. Did you really fall?
goo bye.

Mike Battistoni said...

Marky was a central figure in the Tau gang at Hobart that was responsible for taking this sheltered suburban snot and moving him toward a more "worldly" look at things. I had never met anyone quite like him and undoubtedly never will again. He was the candle to many a young moth. It sounds like his own wings eventually failed him. It's both sad and strangely comforting to know that he never got past his youthful ways. I will hoist a PBR or or two to him when I get a chance.

Anonymous said...

From another old girlfriend…
We were together a relatively short time but I am realizing today how much he gave me and impacted my life. Markey introduced me to some of my all-time favorite music- Patti Smith, Aztec Camera, Television, Dream Syndicate, and we saw some great shows together, Steve Wynn, Robyn Hitchcock, including the filming of Storefront Hitchcock. I have always and will always treasure the time we spent together. Although I have been out of touch with him for many years, from other’s words here I see the Markey I knew still evident despite his troubles- a kind, gentle, generous soul, one of the most brilliant people I have ever known, sweet and funny, with a sense of style all his own. Since I found out he was in NYC again I have searched for him, unsuccessfully, whenever I have been in the City. I deeply regret I never got to see him again. It’s been heartbreaking to read of everything he’s been through, although comforting to know he had people who cared about him, tried to help him and recognized what an incredible person he was through it all.

Markey- I truly hope you are at peace. There’s a place in my heart that will always be yours.
With much love-
Tee Dee

Anonymous said...

Well, it's been days and days since I put out the word I would try to scoop out the details. No one other than gossipers came forward, and I can't help the civilly paranoid. I also don't have the time to scope just for the sake of doing so, or out of morbid curiousity, or just because I can. I offered tho.'

Meanwhile someone is getting around to a memorial at Andrett's Funeral Home on 9/11 of all fucking days. Andrett's has an internet guest book from where you can 'send flowers to the family' wherever they are.

malcontent said...

I still think about this loss every day. Will try to find that photo I have of him holding the dog. I questioned his taste on some aspects of music, but he was dead on about others. He sucked as a bandmate because he kept nodding, but he was great inspiration with the "get out there and do it". He was well read, and he always up on current events. He sure did have a way of pissing people off, and somewhere did lack a certainly survival skill. I have seen him do some dumb ass shit and then be surprised when the dumb ass shit didn't work out. But on his best days, he was the best of the best, and I am so so so sad I'll never get to shoot the shit with him again. I wouldn't be who I am without having known him, and it's clear from the other comments that many feel the same. I hope he knows how loved he is.

peace amigo


I remember markey from the ghosts. a great band bound for obscurity. you can't even find them through google, but they were the house band at CBGBs for a short time. Markey will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Stirring and stirring and stirring.
The pot. Not enough time to salve the hearts of those around?
A post suggesting that there is something we need to know? One can't post 'facts' on the net and then sit back to wait for, well, what? Resolving the problem of what happened to Markey would be fine, but to tantalize with saying there is information that isn't being given? That's a sucker punch, and Markey was a great boxing fan/analyst. He'd say "Boo" (being a ghost and all).
Thanks. And Peace Be With Us All.

Anonymous said...

Even if you thought you maybe possibly remotely knew something that maybe even the teeniest bit relevant maybe just maybe to the point of keeping you awake at night but maybe and unlikely possible but not impossible, the det. squad at the 9th... What is the strongest opposite of 'woo?' (Markey would know.) As in never call them about anything ever?

A highlight: "Why don't you give me your name???" "Because I'm scared!" "What do you have to be afraid of, you are talk to a NYPD police officer?"

Um. Yeah. Um, nothing personal dude. But you might like to learn the culture around here.

But I feel better. Less heavy. I was after all assured by the 9th I had absolutely nothing to bring to the party. This is a Good Thing because I don't WANT to have anything to bring. I was just wondering.

This is about NYPD; not Markey.

Irony was not wasted on Markey. I hope he can laugh at us from wherever we go when we kick off. And if one can laugh from there, I reckon he is. :-) And even if, say, he had a head injury (not clear) that Ghost wouldn't go boo'ing after the perp anyway. He wouldn't sell his soul for even a beer.

Me? Just an example of someone who can't letting something go without leaving scratch marks all over it.

I'm ready now to RIP, but in the petite morte thank you.

Anonymous said...

not boo after the perp (or the peep like little bow), silly, boo to anyone making another potentially false allegation.
The concerns bout someone saying they'd scope and it didn't go THEIR way.
Markey no likey the bs. Not woo.
Markey liked to be left alone, case you didn't get it.
He'll never be drooged again. Or will he on these strange posts that try to say something.
Language can be a weapon.
Mr. Bena was a wordsmith, if nothing else. He would no likey making words sing like a canary with no wings.
The simple question ~ was he beaten or did he fall?
And if it took one blow, how does one do that to one's self?
Was he beaten, or did he fall?
If you can't answer that, you can't answer that. Tautology. And you know what that is ; )

cuz said...

*Markey was my cousin and my friend.
We were close in age and a little bit close in intellect(his superior)
*Just before my mother died I was having problems in my home as the only girl.
*Markey's mom and dad took me in a few times. He gave my uncle Joe a run for his money with that mouth that, I see, he still had.
*Thank You All for your stories as to what he was like and still like.
*We all loose touch with some family members especially when they move across the country...I now live in Hawaii.
*I am 16 yrs sober(today and its 10am where I am in Colorado this minute and I could drink today) and as an alcoholic myself can identify with the series of bad breaks and misunderstandings that can occur when one does not continue to try to seek to achieve sobriety.
*I am not here to judge.
*I am here to express, not only the grief of a lost family member through death, but the lost family member through geography and the breakdown of THE American Family in general.
*I am here to express my empathy with the rest of MY family (However scattered and damaged they may be).
*Let us never forget how "damaged" we all are.

*I am sure my cousin is in a better place and I forgive the "sicker" people who beat him. His blood is on their hands and they must continue in their own skin.
*See you on the other side Cuz!
May you always be exactly where you want to be!


Anonymous said...

Dear Most Recent Anonymous:

Yes, Markey was a wordsmith. You? I can't understand WTF you are saying. Reminds me of a line from a leonard cohen tune--something about 'lousy little poets trying to sound like Charlie Manson.'

So on to the "memorial." The 9/11 funeral parlor thing. Anybody going? I am not.

I thought of possibly auctioning something off to pay for something or something. ANy ideas?

I'm fairly certain it's behind my refigerator in an envelope addressed to that evening's host, who, months later, it would be wasted on now.

I was going to mail him the fiver I got Markey to kick in for beer. Not because the dude needed the five, but that it was A Five From Marky. :-)

Yes, I believe I have a five-spot from Markey's own pocket. I believe it is still behind the fridge. Maybe.

Any sentimentalists interested? I'll turn it over to EVG for auction for some kind of memorial.

If I spent it or lost it I apologize, but I think it may very well be there.


Anonymous said...

the effort to understand what happened is a natural impulse. Markey would have let efforts to understand go after he'd said "wha the f?" he'd shake his head and go back to reading the daily news. and piss, I din't get to ask him what he thought about Maureen Dowd and the BP/Obama mess. D*mn.
He was a sparkley cali boy. he'd been thru too much. he continued to try to survive. he wanted to write. he wanted to be published. and he would've like the poetry that not everyone can understand. he would not like proposals of possibilities. I want to say he liked the kennedy's not nixon, but I'm sure that'll cause a stir.
I want to know what happened, I want to be certain because I wonder if his last moments were dreadful, and I think I've come close to believing they were not.

Parker said...

My brother introduced me and my friends to a lot of good music - Blondie, Elvis Costello, the Ramones, the Talking Heads - a lot of which I still listen to, to this day. I also have very fond memories of hanging out with him at Max's Kansas City, The Ritz, and CBGB.

When I was applying to college, I had to write my application essay on being different. In my essay, I wrote a lot about New Wave Music. I said that I like that kind of music rather than the "masses are asses" Stadium Rock that everybody else listened to. It just so happened that the admissions officer with whom I had my interview was a fan of New Wave Music herself.

What I'm trying to say is that, in a manner of speaking, Markey helped me get get into college.

Anonymous said...

The site administrator is fully capable of contacting me on behalf of the family, and the family only. If nothing else I might, maybe, put this was he or wasn't he beaten prior to his demise to bed already. That people are still wondering is disturbing. I am not suggesting I have any secrets. I am not suggesting that others may have secrets. But based on my reading here, it still is not clear what exactly Markey died of. And that's okay because when all is said and done it's none of our business.

BTW, I watched some of "BarFly" the other night. I couldn't finish it. Not to romanticize Markey, but still.

Caroline and Tom said...

my love is vengeance

Goodbye Markey

kimberly cordaro said...

I knew Markey through my friend Jen seacor. We had a great time together and I always found him to be a gentle person who just loved Jenifer so much. they were both at our engagement night in nyc and at our wedding (9/11/88). When I had my first daughter and visited Jen In Chappaqua, NY… Jen's mom told me that Jen was in rehab and could not visit Markey. We got them together that weekend, but their drug addictions just were too strong. I can't believe Markey is dead, and I can't find Jenifer Dobbins seacor. Is she dead too? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

markey's -
tday = favourite holiday.
no gifts no religion
good food. the best, considering.
prep the meal. get drunk.
go to sleep wake up.
drink bloody beers; beer + tomato juice
get to work. the parade is on the t.v.
meal's done eat and drink and eat.
watch fooooootttttbbbbbaaaallllll.
more beers.
leftovers sandwiches.
a movie, or david letterman.

markey would've been a blogger.

too freaking bad!!!!

tday makes me remember markey and blogging insists he missed - damn.

avbear11 said...

wanted to thank who ever started this as well as all the great things u all said about my cousin.

Lis Cherr said...

It was the least and the last we could do for Markey, avbear11. Hard to believe that it's been more than 7 years... we will never forget him.

Tina said...

I did not spend a lot of time with Markey.
But, every moment we spent together was, to me fabulous and, clearly etched in my mind.
I, a freshman in College looking for interesting, cool friends.
Markey Bena was comprehensively extraordinary and by far, the most magnetic human I have ever met.
He lived in the moment, was so engaged in the world, multi talented and not an ego, supremely cool, brilliant and intriguing, grounded, happy, kind, evolved, balanced, simultaneously chill and exciting.
i have never met anyone like hm and was, and will forever remain, one of his many moths.

My life has been exceptionally, too, busy...peace at last.
Last week a decades old memory popped up,,.. Markey asked if Id take photos of his band, I was excited & hoped to impress, there he was with his thick, punk hair, jean jacket and jeans, boots, unbuttoned shirt, cover man face, singing his heart out, they were electric. When I developed the photos, they were blurry and he amazed again, his EQ was high, whatever he said made everything okay. As I googled him, the possibilities flitted... a rock band front man, song writer or, brilliant and gutsy writer who got minds thinking and important, sensitive issues on the table. Likely in a unique, adoring relationship with a free spirited, brilliant, interesting, beautiful inside and out woman.

So Markey, Im not certain you would remember me but, I will never forget you. I am not happy that I was not even aware, much less there for you and, its my loss that you are gone. I know, blah blah blah, but I gotta say it...If I could roll back time, Id visit you in E vil. And, however you chose or were forced to evolve or combo....No matter what you said to me, no matter your world, I would have been in your life if you would have had me. Oh, for 10 minutes to be with and talk to you. My eyes are swollen, heart heavy and pacifist soul thinking not such peaceful thoughts about the demons who harmed you. Those gorgeous, dynamic, full of promise eyes, deeply hurt, disillusioned, bruised. Physically sick.

The unsuprising beauty in this online snapshot into Markeys life is... so much appreciation for who he was, real love, many beautiful souls who were friends with Markey...Peace to you all.

Markey, I hope to see you on the other side.

Love and hugs, Tina 508735972