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My friend Craig

In my long poem "Cars," published in 1981, I write about my first time hitchhiking, when my friend Sondra & I hitched up to Gettysburg (SD) to see "our crazy poet friend Craig, now the archangel Gabriel." He was a handsome, lively, brilliant, sensitive young man, and even though I didn't know much about mental illness, I guess I knew he wasn't OK. I found a couple of letters from him the other day, including one from the South Dakota state mental hospital in Yankton that was sober and loving, as was a much earlier one when he was feeling thrashingly confined in his small town out on the prairie but full of plans. Finding the letters made me look him up. The online condolences called him "intense" and said "he bore his suffering with dignity and grace." He lived to be 61. Clearly the mental illness never let up. For 50 years I've carried him with me and now I find I can't remember very much. What was brilliant? What did we do together besides open our hearts? We cared "painfully" about the world & he quoted a lot of Jewish thinkers & was teaching himself Hebrew. Did he carry me too? I hope so. I think I hope so. 

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