the deeper the joy

Winter, 2020–21 / No. 46

a face that looked like a glazed donut that had slept on the floor
last night

thirty-five years old

remarkable that he was able to hold on

even that long

Andy Kaufman died of lung cancer, in 1984, or aids, or maybe he’s not dead at all—it depends what you choose to read online

years ago, when I was young, I read of his Carnegie Hall performance during which he took the entire audience down the street for milk and cookies, and I was young, like I said, but I knew genius when I heard about it

then I became a writer.

Andy’s brother Michael once claimed that the death was in fact a hoax and that he had followed instructions in an essay Andy wrote to meet at a specific restaurant on Christmas Eve, 1999. Michael did so, he said, whereupon a man he did not know walked up to him and handed him a typed letter from Andy, who wrote:

“everything is great in my life and I just wanted to get away from being Andy Kaufman.”

you can see the red leatherette banquettes in the glass-walled restaurant in the late evening 

the plate glass windows and the Christmas lights

the tall man in the dark felt overcoat

moving silently through the snow, gently falling. Maybe Andy was across the street, watching.

Andy was renowned for his Elvis impersonation.

Elvis impersonators are about as remarkable as horses at a racetrack, but Andy’s was really good, everyone will tell you so

but the fact is that Elvis was the first, and the best, Elvis impersonator

and Andy, well, he’s dead

or maybe he’ll pop up any day now: 

“Hi everyone. What’d I miss?”

Michael Blouin has two books forthcoming—the poetry collection Southbound and the novel I Am Billy the Kid. Last updated winter, 2020–2021.