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This all reminds me of Bob's funeral, in "My Own Private Idaho".
Via The Villager:L.E.S. Jewels, godfather of crusties, is dead at 43BY GERARD FLYNN AND LINCOLN ANDERSON Joel Pakela, a.k.a. L.E.S. Jewels, was the leader of sorts of the East Village’s homeless crusty punks, which he liked to call the “gutter pirates.” Last Friday night, Jewels, 43, was found by Ninth Precinct police on Avenue A across from the park, “smelling of alcohol.” Suffering from unspecified “health issues,” he was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center where he died the next day.There were rumors that he also may have been assaulted. But the medical examiner’s office said he had no fresh injuries, though a fall may have contributed to his death. The M.E. said it will take about three weeks to determine the cause of death.While Jewels was engaging and intelligent when sober — and even gave poetry readings at Theatre 80 on St. Mark’s Place — when drunk he could turn violent. He did jail time for assaulting a pedestrian he was trying to panhandle change from on Avenue A, and also for attacking a man who he had met in a Second Ave. gay bar and accompanied home — Jewels broke the man’s orbital bone with his cane.Despite his dark, troubled side, Jewels was a well-liked figure by many in the neighborhood. A memorial is planned in Tompkins Square Park, this Fri., Sept. 20, at 8 p.m.
I knew he was a character, but I didn't know about the assaults.
We were not great friends, but in the few times we hung out he was able to impress a memory very great and dear. He was so similar to another friend in his soul. My friend Dash , also taken by addiction. So magnetic and alive. Soul sucking suburban yuppies and their spawn killed both. Sacer and Lez tagging together in heaven.
Right now It’s 12:55 in the morning and I’m sitting in my bed, sober, smoking a cigarette because we’re all poets, while trying to come to terms with the fact that you sustained head trauma before you passed. I don’t want to think about how you died. I saw a picture of the person who I’ve been hearing kicked you in the head hours before you died. I don't want to believe it but I can put two and two together. I feel like my only power right now is how I will choose to remember. I can dehumanize this individual in my memory, because I know that kicking a man in the head while he’s drunk and seated is a crime. It is unconscionable.The same thing might have happened to me. I was jumped by this individual, while seated - drunk- and I never saw it coming. I think they were getting territorial over the park bench that was probably more valuable than my life. I ended up having to take the train home, anonymously, while the equally anonymous car looked on, with eyes I couldn’t quite meet. (I don't have info, this is hearsay)When I first heard you died it seemed to have been a simple overdose after a night of drinking. People told me you were stumbling in the street. I pictured you drunk, like I’d seen you before. I spent a lot of time thinking about addiction and the reasons why you weren’t able to get the help that you needed. I thought about your moods and your child-like grin, plastered on a face that’s been kicked in at least once before. I thought about the time I saw you when you were sober and alone near the McDonalds on St. Marks Place. I heard you overdosed. I thought you’d live forever. Or at least, I thought you wouldn’t die like this. I know the pavement won’t remember you. I hope the people you met there do.I didn’t know you that well but I want you to know that I’ll remember you and that you will be remembered well. When I think about you and the fact that you are dead I try to remember the times we shared poetry and all the nice things you told me about Amy, and the fact that she always seemed to pick up the phone. My favorite memory of you was from 2012. It was summer and we ran into each other at the churchyard. We were sitting near a massive, tattooed man who I would never have dreamed of speaking to ...but we had been talking about Poe, and you had recited ‘Alone’ by memory. That meant everything. The guy next to us, I had almost forgotten him completely, asked me whether I liked books and then showed me what he had been reading. It was some book about baseball that I’d only ever seen in a middle school library. He seemed so absorbed that he completely ignored us after he’d spoken. Show and tell. It was beautiful. I can’t speak for those who knew you best, and I can’t imagine what they must be going through, but I want you to know that that you will be remembered and remembered well by those who knew you. My heart goes out to Amy.
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