Friday, September 13, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Crazy Beautiful

By Lori Williams

You remind me of an old time carnival –
with freak shows and elephants
wearing pink tiaras. The townsfolk waited all year
to laugh and take photos of things
they knew nothing about, things
that got them out of their life for a day or so.
They could forget their sadness for one evening;
get cotton candy, ride the ferris wheel, pet
a pig in a funny costume. It was all crazy
and beautiful for them. But Mondays happen
and carnivals are packed up like those
whose lives change,  yet become more
than they were before. You remind me of this
because you make me crazy beautiful.  You have things
packed up, after your sunshine show,
after everyone goes home and you are alone,
there. We can make our own carnival, you know.
We can be crazy beautiful.

You must have noticed that I give you a different poet each week. For once I'm doubling up. I featured New York poet Lori Williams on the 6th of April 2012. The reason I'm featuring her again now is because she has just died (some time between 1 and 6 September 2013) and I loved her and loved her work, and wish to honour both again.

It's not just me. As I write, several days ahead of posting, her facebook page is filling up fast with grieved, shocked, loving comments from friends far and wide. Some have known her since they were at school together; many are fellow poets like me, who encountered her online. (In my case, on MySpace in 2006.)

'To know her was to love her.'

She went to hospital for cancer treatment on August 24. She couldn't afford private insurance, so when she was first diagnosed a few days earlier, she expected to die. Then kind friends financed her hospital admission. She seemed to respond well to treatment, and from time to time posted cheerful, funny messages on facebook to reassure her many adoring friends that she was doing fine. And so it appeared. She was expecting to go home any minute. I don't know what happened. It must have been a very sudden relapse. It has shocked everyone. She leaves behind a dear sister and her beloved 28-year-old son, her only child, who inherits her poetic gifts.

You can read more about her, and find a link to her book, Woman on the Brink, at that earlier post.  If you're on facebook, you can find more of her poems on her 'writer' page.

Here I will add that she was funny, brave, and sometimes outrageous. She told it like it is, and she had a very big heart to match her enormous talent. It's hard to describe her, really. She was one of a kind, as they say. In her early fifties, she was young to die.

She was beautiful inside and out, and 'crazy' in the sense of being forthright, feisty, irrepressible, and often hilarious. She brought joy to many.

I can't believe she's gone.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. Oh Rosemary, Such an uplifting beautiful poem--thank you very much for sharing it-before I read about her tragic end, it really lifted my heart.

  2. Oh, this is so sad! She was so talented! I will check out her book and fb page~ YOU proudly honored her Rosemary and I look forward to reading her words, her gifts to the world~
    Thank you for sharing her!

  3. Rosemary, how horribly sad. She sounds "crazy beautiful" herself, for certain. Not fair. Not fair. I will definitely check out her page and her book. My kinda woman. Too soon gone. Damn. And it is HORRIBLE someone with cancer needs money to go to hospital for treatment. Up here in Canada even homeless people get treatment when they need it.

    1. No money in dying poor folks for the corporate controlled hospitals in the US of A to care about such trivial people....
      if they only read one of her poems. She is missed but out of this she is getting recognition and that is what a writer really desires is it not ?

    2. Although not a household word, I'm glad to say she already had a high degree of recognition among her peers while she was still alive.

      Just to put things in perspective, this post has had 375 views so far, about equivalent to the circulation of one issue of a printed literary magazine in Australia. (I don't know what the stats are in other countries.)

      Certainly one hopes to communicate with others through one's writing, and to touch their hearts, but I think the first and foremost desire is to create.

      Lori didn't pursue fame very actively; I think it was often her friends and fellow poets who encouraged her get her work 'out there'. When she did, it was acclaimed.

    3. Thank you so much for featuring again one of my favorite poems by Lori Williams. I loved her and her work. She was real in every sense of the word.


  4. so tragic end to a brave untimely...her kind of mind is rare these days...very sad..

  5. Thanks for remembering this talented soul

  6. What a touching poem this is, Rosemary. I do like the idea of being 'crazy beautiful' and making one's own 'carnival.' How very sad you must have been about her death. Always hard to lose a friend, even a friend one has never met.

    1. Sad and also shocked, like everyone else who knew her. Somehow, we never seriously entertained the idea that she would not survive.

  7. As always Rosemary, you do honour to one who might have slipped by un-noticed...such a loss and far too soon. My heart aches for her son who must just be reeling and for you, who have had too many losses of late, no matter how gracefully you accept your lot. Be well and kind to yourself.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. Very beautiful piece. So sorry to hear of her passing

  9. Sad to hear this. I'm going mad trying to remember if I know her work. I've been online a long time and I remember Myspace. Did she post to poetry forums? To ask this is to date how long I've been in poetry communities. Before blogs or MysPace, we gathered at poetry discussion forums. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. I don't know if she posted in the forums, Tonya; that was before my online time - and I thought I went back a long way, lol. She was prominent on MySpace amongst the poets I found there. It was a fairly informal community; we just came across each other's blogs and 'friended' each other. Many are now on facebook, but it's not quite the same.

    2. No, it's not the same, Rosemary. The time we used to spend in one space, connecting uninterrupted with hopping is gone and I miss it terribly. Thanks for again for sharing.

  10. I feel such sadness reading about the loss of this poet whom i did not know before your posts. Many thanks for introducing her and for featuring her work, also for this fine tribute.

  11. Lori is greatly missed. She graced our second issue of Quill and Parchment 18 years ago with 3 of her beautifully crafted poems. First Dance, I Walk the Sand and Water Lilies...Two AM Trilogy in June 2006 was her last poem that we published. Check out her 5 poems in our Archives.


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