My friend Ryan Pink passed away last weekend. Without getting too much into detail, he was haunted by a life that never gave him much room to breathe. What came out of it was art that I admire to this very day and will admire for the rest of my life. I have revisited it with a bit more care, and I continue to find amazing beauty in the way Ryan takes jagged, rusty words and puts them together with duct tape to create these vivid scenes. Through both his poetry and his music, Ryan expressed himself like no one I had ever known and it always felt honest and fluid. Nothing was forced or saturated with influence. The only influence he knew was the life he lived and he translated that for anyone that cared to listen (or read). He trusted me with his music and I did what I could to promote his music through websites. Sometimes I fear I didn’t do enough.
What I can do for you now is share his words and his music with you. Below is the last poem he shared with us as well as his full album, “Hate Speech.”
There is so much talent and so much truth in this art. I hope these songs find you as they did with me.
Where is Your Masterpiece?
What he expected was something magical:
laughter and music and smoke and billiard balls,
banging into each other
like drunks with a purpose.
He expected conversation until the orange dawn
under the blue glow of the fading moon and those comfortable sighs
that bring those comfortable silences.
He said, “Tell my boy I could’ve done worse.”
He lived in an empty house,
’bout a mile up the road from purgatory.
A home too cluttered with ghosts and refuse
to walk a straight path to his bed,
in a room too quiet to lay his head
and find rest.
He said, “California… now that’s ’bout nine hours west of Bernallio County
and a few blocks from the concrete towers standing in my way.”
The rosy green mountains stood to the east
and the dry, dying river to The West was once mighty,
before it shrank into mud. The sight of it made him tired.
The sight of it made him uncomfortable.
He said, “Spirits walk the riverbank, wishing they were lost.”
He understood the difference between medicine and medication
and found relief
His father was a strong man – never a boy, never a son,
he was joy…
just like she was.
He said, “Tell my boy I can be the same; I don’t need to be saved.”
When they asked him where it was, where he was going,
he had no answer. Vague, yes, but sincere, honest,
eyes gazing away from the orange blister
of the rising sun.
He said, “You can’t raise a boy on shame.”
And so he grabbed his paint
and his brush
and waded the river,
before the sun could cross
and blind his sight.
“Beauty,” he said, “a true masterpiece, is the joy
that I am.”
And so he got to work.
– Ryan Pink
Sleep well my friend. I will miss you.