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I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to eulogize Andrew Vachss, my brother, mentor, and biggest supporter for more than 50 years, who passed away December 27. Fortunately, voluminous words in public spaces indicate his phenomenal achievements, though he was mainly about the work and not much about garnering praise. Andrew would say just be sure to make your ripple in the pond, and the rest will sort itself out.

I think the poet Vallejo wrote something to the effect that “there are blows in life so hard I cannot answer.” Or maybe I answer by going to poetry. I leave this one I composed a while back, when I reflected on a sometimes weirdly amusing decades-long relationship and life in general.

For Andrew

When I heard knocking in the engine

As we passed exit 8 on the turnpike

I turned up the radio.

That only got us as far as exit 9.

I have learned many things since.

I do know

We cannot solve with sound

The day we leave.


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