But His Death Is Not without Ecstasy
Roy Bentley


“In 1971, the year before her divorce became final, she moved home to California,
while Johnny Carson stayed in New York, where his show was then taped.
She bought a rustic house on Sunset Boulevard, at the western fringe of Bel-Air.
Eventually, Capote would take over two of her five bedrooms, making her home
his California pied-a-terre, spending months there every year, swimming and writing—
and, on Aug. 25, 1984, dying, in his writing room, probably from an overdose of pills.”

                                —Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2006


Like this, flame really does flower.
Like this, petals are a reclaiming heat
and the body has no choice but to open
as a self-eulogy in a drawer of brightness—
some petals falling as onto summer river,
some refuting laws of gravity and rising.

Let us whisper that he was sometimes kind,
that he met Willa Catha as a teenager in New York.
Let us acknowledge that he befriended a killer
who hanged for shotgunning a Kansas family,
that he drank the monies from all his books
and lectures. Let us not feed conjecture

that his Holly Golightly was a call girl
from Tulip, Texas. If the urn is pilfered
hereafter from the Carson house in Bel-Air
where he overdosed in the guest bedroom,
it was a cinch to be thieved: its contents,
if not an urn chosen in the fog of grief,

as singular as, say, a drawerful of jewels.
The storyline was such that he could only
escape or be shaken by seismic curiosity
how a life can be like the glass cracked
in calamity, the gestalt untranslatable
except in heat and high temperatures.

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