BOOKS AND ARTS OCTOBER 21, 2009
I knew it had to come, but according
to my plans, and to the arrangement
of "usual arrangements," I'd be dead
by that time. And I am: dead to the world
in which I was so recognizably alive.
Of course I never guessed how it would come.
(Guessing wasn't in the cards we held close
to the chest.) Other people--everyone
else--were the ones who had to guess. "Keep them
guessing," Roy would say. He liked saying that.
And other people did guess. They guessed how
it would come, luckily, I am dead,
as far as anyone can testify.
(Now there's a word.) This morning when Rachel,
who thinks she wants to be an actress, read
the drivel in the Times about that play,
I knew I was dead: not even names
(Roy always said, after too many shorts
of us two drunk, "no names, please")
--but a Pulitzer! what the fuck is that!
And when she asked, as any midwestern
thirteen-year-old might innocently ask,
"Daddy, who was Roy Cohn?" it was childsplay
to explain. Did I know anything more
than any daddy in Columbis, O?
Did I need to know anything at all?
By now there had been so many others
between what I was and what he needed
that no one even remembers I was
first. Ray's first, not mine. Let me take a guess:
that made it easier for all of us--
and none of that stuff ever since. Ever?
Ask Rachel's mom if she had any cause
to be dissatisfied. Forty years on,
who the hell else could you ask?
And as for David Schine's satisfactions,
no one ever asks. I'd say, being dead,
they're overrated--as they were for Roy,
they are for me,. and will be for Rachel,
just wait around and see. Love you, daddy.