Aftertude, or The Five Stages of Loss: Remembering Jake Adam York

By Simmons B. Buntin

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Jake Adam YorkJake Adam York
August 10, 1972 – December 16, 2012

1. Isolation

Because there is blood streaming from his side, a man is screaming. This is not a metaphor. Because the wound has split the taught muscle beneath his arm, he is flailing like a snared fish, the panorama of his tattoos turned to bright scales among the dark spray. Because I am not the angler, I am a bystander. Because I am only a bystander, I do not dial 9-1-1 when the man stumbles into the coffee shop on Colfax and Lipan, though others do. Because I am killing time at a coffee shop on Wednesday morning waiting for the memorial service of Jake Adam York, I am a witness. Though I am one of many witnesses, I am in this alone.

2. Anger

I have been reading Jake’s essay “Recovery: Learning the Music of History” because recovery is the right word for how we attempt to go about our lives after someone we care about suddenly dies, as my friend Jake Adam York did on December 16, following a massive stroke. Because in that long essay I can return in some small sense to the man I’ve known and admired for 22 years, and because even if we can’t truly recover, his words become a living text. Because they offer renewal.


More From and About Jake Adam York in

“Recovery: Learning the Music of History”
By Jake Adam York Issue 19 : Fall/Winter 2006

Three Poems: “Panoramic: Landscape With Repeating Figures,” “Double Exposure,” and “Elegy for Little Girls”
By Jake Adam York Issue 17 : Fall/Winter 2005

Poetry in Context, in Craft
Simmons B. Buntin reviews Murder Ballads, poems by Jake Adam York Issue 18 : Spring/Summer 2006 is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.