David Rakoff's remains the only "celebrity" death over which I have shed actual tears. There is something about his work (especially when listened to) that just made me feel this absurd connection with someone who I, in reality, knew not at all. As a result, it took me a while to be able to read this posthumously published collection.
In rhyming meter Rakoff tackles everything from cuckoldry, to sexual assault, homophobia and the AIDS epidemic. His reflections on death are made all the more poignant in knowing what he was facing at that time:
The facts were now harder, reality colder
His parasol no match for that falling boulder.
And so the concern with the trivial issues:
Slippers nearby and the proximate tissues
He thought of those two things in life that don't vary
(Well, thought only glancingly; more was two scary)
Inevitable, why even bother to test it,
He'd paid all his taxes, so that left ...you guessed it.
David is clever as ever in bringing together a form that ill-fits the seriousness of its content, but in a way that makes the discussion of dark matters somehow more palatable. (In a similar sort of way, [a:David Sedaris|2849|David Sedaris|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1213737698p2/2849.jpg]'s dark, macabre stories in [b:Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary|7857195|Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk A Modest Bestiary|David Sedaris|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1279831428s/7857195.jpg|10995406] are given some levity in being presented as animal parables.) This was my first time not getting to hear him read his work aloud and my internal cadence just couldn't match his delivery. A poignant collection from an author who is sorely missed.