Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim. 
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—,
And admirably schooled in every grace: 
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place. 

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
—–by Edward Arlington Robinson

This morning I learned that Drew Bernstein, a member of our rock and roll tribe who clothed every cool person and teen goth that ever existed, killed himself. He was a successful, attractive, smart, well-liked person and the news has stunned and saddened everyone who knew him. 


I didn’t know him well, but I knew him peripherally for many years, liked him, and have heard from all accounts that he was a kind and caring person. I am honored that the photo circulating features him in a CSFH tee, and feel sad to see him looking so vibrant and alive while knowing that he is gone. To all his family and friends that may stumble upon this blog, I send you my deepest condolences. 

People are checking out at an alarming rate. My mother is regularly telling me that energy is intensifying and we are being asked to release much of what is old and weighs us down to make room for a higher vibrational form of being as the earth and its inhabitants move at a snail’s pace towards this bullshit ascension that is, in my opinion, taking way too long to come about, if indeed it is coming about at all.

I kind of do know that it is coming about, but I still like to bitch about it because there’s a punk rock part of me that needs to hold up a middle finger at all this positive, new agey, happy horseshit. Especially as I have had, since last November, some highly confusing and difficult months, starting with the landlord caving my ceiling on Thanksgiving and culminating in a perio-menopausal horror show that has only recently been managed with hormone replacement therapy. Sweet, sweet hormone replacement therapy. It’s supposed to be temporary but I’m so much more happy and even-tempered now that the authorities will have to pry the medication out of my cold dead hands one day.

Essentially, I’ve felt nuts for the last year, and I am not alone. My Drew (not Bernstein) has too, and most of my friends as well.

I got this text from Storm today, after I sent her the news about Drew and after we had just had a conversation two days ago about Robin Williams: “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???”

WTF, indeed? I imagine, that if this energy scenario is true, and if you are prone to depression or not in an even place to begin with, being energetically required to release old feelings, pains, traumas, etc. from this lifetime or others, could indeed be fatal. And to my mother’s credit, she told me ten years ago that I would be seeing many people leaving the planet as they either had more important things to do on the other side to help with the shift or wouldn’t be able to assimilate to what was happening comfortably enough to stay in body.

Anyway, beyond the new age scenario, which is a lot of guess work at the best of times, and into the more practical. 

I wasn’t a fan of Robin Williams, I found his hyperactivity annoying and often unfunny. I wasn’t that crazy about seeing him in movies because I found his hairy physicality distracting. But he seemed like a nice man and I get why other people think he was hilarious. I was struck primarily by the tragedy because of our nation’s obsession with celebrity, and because it brought back the memories of personal experience.


I have at least a small insight into what the Williams family is feeling because the parent of someone I love hung themselves too, not too many years ago. The cause of death was not made public, mostly to protect the privacy of the family and memory of the person, and probably to stave off the kind of commentary that Robin Williams’ family is now facing. I think it was very brave and generous of them to come right out and give the world such intimate details.

When someone commits suicide, the swath of devastation is wide and bleak. The ensuing anguish is almost untenable. Families are never the same, some don’t recover from the loss. The people left behind have to work out issues on their own; they are left holding the bag. It’s as if the person committing suicide states out loud, only once: “I am not interested in making sure that you are okay. I’m leaving and you will have no say in the matter.” People left behind question their own value, why they weren’t compelling enough to keep the loved one here, who they are, and how they will make themselves whole without the assistance of the person who created a hole. Suicide is an abandonment of the highest order.

So there’s that: anger. Then there’s the simple loss: sadness. Then there’s the imagining of that person in that physical position in death: horror and anguish. You’d be surprised at how many people die in movies in exactly the same way that real people do, compelling one to leap over couches to change channels in vain attempts at preventing images that remind, images that haunt the psyche, images that cause a person to cry in their sleep from nightmares.

And lastly, there are frustrating and futile machinations in your head that try to turn back time: what could I have said or done to keep them here, to change their mind?

Zelda Williams, Robin’s daughter, quit Twitter after some stunningly rotten tweets, including a couple fake images of his body, were sent her way:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/28773734

ABC News offered live aerial shots of the family home, to which people on social media objected enough that the network apologized. This gives some hope that we are not completely damned as a nation: http://www.thewrap.com/robin-williams-dead-abc-news-social-media-outrage-aerials-of-robin-williams-home-family-asks-for-privacy/.

A little compassion is in order and not that hard to provide. Instead of cracking callous jokes on facebook or ranting about what a coward this famous man was for hanging himself (which doesn’t strike me as a particularly easy thing to do, so I don’t get that argument), why can’t we take this as a reminder to look at the people closest to us to check to see if they are okay. Because many of us are not, and it doesn’t matter if we are famous, rich, popular, and beautiful. And when something like this happens, which it will because no matter how closely we check on each other, some will inevitably fall through the cracks, how about we simply pray or send good thoughts to the families instead of sending a helicopter over their house or a tweet of our opinion on how the person died? People who lost a father, a husband, a best friend, a girlfriend, a child, don’t need our opinion. They need our empathy and understanding.

 I often think about L’Wren Scott, who was the summation of everything I wanted to be when I was a teenager–gorgeous, sophisticated, smart, dating a rock star, etc., and who also hung herself. Another informing element to all of this is that the things that we deem as most important to happiness, might not be. Wrap your brain around that for a while. I’m still working on it. In the meantime, I am holding my loved ones close and praying for the people who lost someone.

Which come to think of it, isn’t that all of us?



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4 thoughts on “Richard Cory”

  1. On FB I posted something Rick Moody wrote on depression. Loosely translated he stated the one's who leave us do so to teach us something and they are not cowards. I love that sentiment. And I have to ask, which one of us can truly look another in the eye and accuse them of cowardice? Our humanity needs an overhaul.

    Like

  2. Hi there,
    Nice blog entry. I relate on many levels. Did you know Drew Bernstein well? I have been trying to get info on his demise since I heard about it. I am still annoyed and saddened. I was in his band, America's Hardcore (A.HC) in 1983. I was the last bassist before he joined Crucifix and 2 years before he started with the clothing that he is so well known for.
    Anyhow, I could write a chapter on this, but I will keep it brief. Can you tell me anything about what was happening with him? I hadn't seen him in person since 1992, but he was extremely inspirational to me.
    I live in Chile now and feel so very distant from my ex culture there, so his loss was even more painful, as i have nobody to really talk to, at least in person.
    I've only heard back from Penelope Spheris' daughter and the first guitarist of Crucifix, Jimmy, about Drew. I still don't know if he was going through a serious relationship issue, was he sick, etc.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    my email is sazisima@yahoo.com

    Ren Cerro

    Like

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