Gerry Musinsky Died

Steel Living

The obit placed the day as April 5, 2008

Nine days shy of his fifty-fourth.

He passed in McKeesport-two miles from my house.

I didn’t know he was here; or ill. If he was.

We had lost touch twenty years ago, after working a couple of playwright’s festivals.

Writing, rewriting, rehearsing, drinking, building sets, cooking chili, drinking…

You get to know a guy.

He was a poet-

He was a teacher-

He was a pretty good friend for a while there.

He would hold court on the South Side before the great upheaval-

In a little shot & beer joint on a side street where

They sold copies of his “Steel Living” across the bar.

Politics, unions, religion, the legend of the Great Thunderbird-

He would talk just enough to start an argument-on the South Side then about a minute-

Then sit back and drink in the sounds.

He listened as I worked through words; trying to decide whether

Writing was an addiction that had worked its way into my bloodstream.

He was my first editor-

A brutal critic-

Reading my poems aloud in his actor’s voice he would toss words that I loved aside like cabbage leaves,

Then leave me a kernel that was right and true.

After doing it, I told him about a retaining wall I had built in front of my house.

“You should have called me,” he said. “I would have loved to help you with that.”

He would have too.

He had to content himself with coming by,

Drinking a few beers,

And telling me how I could have done it better.

Gerald U. Musinsky

1954-2008

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4 thoughts on “Gerry Musinsky Died

Add yours

  1. Dammit it hell. I googled his name today, am single yet again—we had a brief non romance/romance while I was his student at Temple. Smoked cigarettes (he loved American Spirit) is his old Oldsmobile back in 2003.

    I couldn’t find his obit online.

    RIP Musinsky

    1. Yep, American Spirit makes sense. I’m looking around-seems I had a copy of his obit but can’t lay my hands on it yet. Sure it was from his now-defunct hometown paper. Thanks for the note!

  2. I should have edited my note. Yikes.

    If you find it, would you be kind enough to post it?

    Very kind of you to remember him years later, he wasn’t easily forgotten.

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