St. Peter might have some new competition for his job deciding who is and who isn’t worthy of entrance through the Pearly Gates.
Reggie “The Bouncer Poet” Bovaird, has just passed away, his close friends on Facebook have posted early in the morning on Sunday, September 29.
The throat cancer that, with such cruel irony, attacked a man who could spellbind a noisy crowd at Grossman’s Tavern in the middle of a music gig when he got up to recite his poetry, had the final word, it appears.
The weird thing for me is, I was thinking about Reg just the other day, even though I haven’t seen him for a couple of years and before that only every two or three years since the time when we really got know each other back in the mid-1990s.
He popped unbidden but, it seemed at the time, appropriately into my mind as I was musing once again —as I have had to do far too often in the past couple of years— on how the old canard that “the good die young” really does seem to be true, after posting the unwelcome news about the too-early death of songwriter Joe Mavety.
“I guess,” I said to myself, “that means guys like me and …” –as my mind groped for examples of other mean old bastards who’d surely lived longer than they deserved to, I settled on: “…Reg Bovaird, will probably live forever.”
Now, I guess I have to re-evaluate including him on that list of people who’ve undeservedly lived longer than all the fine folks who’ve predeceased us.
I guess he had a purer heart than even I knew —and believe me, having typed out every letter in every word on every line of every poem and argued incessantly with him over spelling, grammar, usage, etc. as I prepared his poetry book for printing back in the mid 1990s, I already knew he was a deep, passionate, loving and genuine soul. And also, of course, a very difficult friend —but always worth the effort.
Shortcomings, yes he had a few. Well maybe more than a few.
But Reg also —at least after realizing that he was born to be a writer rather than a tough guy watching over doorways in clubs— never tried to hide any of them. When you read the poems he left, you can clearly see that he bared his soul far more courageously than most of the so-called artists who garner attention on the literary or music scenes these days –especially hard for him to do given his ‘rep’ as a tough guy guarding doorways to places most of you reading this would seriously fear to tred.
As you can hear Reg say —while reading his “Pirates” poem live in bar, captured on video and shared with love and respect by Pat Langer of the former Leslie Spit TreeO band:
“…for we are the last of our kind
to ever pass this way again.”
If there is an afterlife —and if where you end up in it has anything to do with how you live your time in the reality we call now— it might be time to start cleaning up your act if you hope to make it past Reg to be where things are groovy and happening when you make the transition to the next level.