“People Who Died” by Ted Berrigan

Pat Dugan……..my grandfather……..throat cancer……..1947.

Ed Berrigan……..my dad……..heart attack……..1958.

Dickie Budlong……..my best friend Brucie’s big brother, when we were
                five to eight……..killed in Korea, 1953.

Red O’Sullivan……..hockey star & cross-country runner
            who sat at my lunch table
                in High School……car crash……1954.

Jimmy “Wah” Tiernan……..my friend, in High School,
          Football & Hockey All-State……car crash….1959.

Cisco Houston……..died of cancer……..1961.

Freddy Herko, dancer….jumped out of a Greenwich Village window
in 1963.

Anne Kepler….my girl….killed by smoke-poisoning while playing
          the flute at the Yonkers Children’s Hospital
          during a fire set by a 16 year old arsonist….1965.

Frank……Frank O’Hara……hit by a car on Fire Island, 1966.

Woody Guthrie……dead of Huntington’s Chorea in 1968.

Neal……Neal Cassady……died of exposure, sleeping all night
           in the rain by the RR tracks of Mexico….1969.

Franny Winston……just a girl….totalled her car on the Detroit-Ann Arbor
          Freeway, returning from the dentist….Sept. 1969.

Jack……Jack Kerouac……died of drink & angry sickness….in 1969.

My friends whose deaths have slowed my heart stay with me now.

Ted Berrigan, “People Who Died” from The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan. Copyright © 2007 by Ted Berrigan.