Jim Carroll: 1949 – 2009

I began reading Jim Carroll as a teenager in the late eighties. My father saved me a newspaper clipping about Carroll’s life and poetry. I don’t know how my father knew that I, good daughter, would adore Carroll, bad son; but he did, and I did.

I read Jim Carroll all the way through the long year of my growing up: from boot camp to my dorm room to my boyfriend’s squalid flat to the wakeful hours of my nightshift summer. I saw him read, once, in Toronto. I remember, for some reason, these lines in particular:

“The positions we use when making love
Determine the next day’s weather”

That’s from “Sick Bird” in Void of Course.

And this, at the end of Forced Entries: “…red to green…stop to go. Walk. Wait.”

As I write this I’m aware these lines, stripped of context, might not sound to you the way they do to me. I can’t unread them. They changed me. He changed me.

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