Good Days by Stephen Dobyns for Jack McCarthy, 1939-2013

January 23, 2013

When we were working on Jack McCarthy’s first book, ‘Say Goodnight Grace Notes: New and Corrected Poems’ (he lifted ‘corrected’ from his friend, poet Michael Brown) the excellent writer Stephen Dobyns wrote a blurb for the book: ‘Jack McCarthy is one of the wonders of contemporary poetry. He writes–and often performs–dazzling narratives full of wit and humor, sadness and hard thinking. He should be cloned.’ When we showed Jack the blurb, he asked to sit down. He reacted, physically, to Dobyns words. He was moved to be honored by one of his favorite poets. Dobyns spoke to Jack last October. Since, he has written this eulogy/ poem, for his friend, the poet Jack McCarthy:

Good Days by Stephen Dobyns
for Jack McCarthy, 1939-2013

It had been one of those good days with friends
and now we were sitting around the bonfire
telling stories—a circle of light within the dark.

The wind through the trees above us sounded
like faraway conversations, perhaps the talk
of friends around bonfires in the past. Some

were drinking, some not. Some leaned back
on their elbows, some sat cross-legged.
You know how it is: your face grows hot,

your back turns cold. As time passed, one
by one, men and women got to their feet and
walked into the night. Yes, that’s how it was.