BULLshot: Marcus Speh

BULLshot: Marcus Speh

JH: For me, the best, most engaging part of this poet’s obit is the “prayer.” What do you pray for, if at all, and how?

FF: Here is my earnest prayer:

Unholy Father, your life echoes and re-echoes in the cave that I’ve hollowed out. So close to your death, so close to my ground, I feel feverish still and fertile also: from your departure springs my solitude and a new life. As a writer, a solitary shapeshifter, I pick a wordish gestalt for this new life. Whatever I build with my own hands, your hands guide me. Whichever image I hold in my heart is underlaid with your image. You were a Joycean ‘fellow of the right kidney’, and I’m what’s left of you. (I stop, breathing hard now.)

This obituary, in which I allowed myself literary liberties that my father, himself a writer, would have, I am sure, most fervently approved of, is a prayful encounter with him and with myself. A pleading, an expression of intense yearning full of ambivalence: “Pray, let me be like you” and: “Pray, don’t make me be like you.” When I look around me, I can already see the shadow of my invocation in my own child’s eyes.

Where all this will lead, if prayer is meaningful beyond the moment of imploration, I do not know. My prayer goes up the chimney like thin, curly smoke, mixing with your own prayer, tempting providence, up all the way to the wobbling stars.



About the Author

Jarrett Haley is the editor of BULL.