27 February 2021

Joseph Ponthus

I recognised your name in today’s newspaper
You had released a new book I thought
It got me excited
Your style was unique it had inspired me
So of course I would want to read your next book
You were so relatable
I had never experienced the ludicrous working conditions you wrote about
The shrimps the whelks
the simple-minded colleagues well actually coming to think of it

My eyes drifted to the insert below your photo
A classic detour before reading the review of your latest opus
Delayed gratification that would never materialise
“24th February 2021: death in Lorient (Morbihan)”

No, what, not you
Back up a few lines
“4th September 1978: birth in Reims (Marne)”
You were just 42
subtle irony
Did you find the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?

You were too well-read for that
I can’t believe my eyes I don’t want to read the article
Car crash, Covid, sudden illness?
Generalised cancer it is
diagnosed since November
for goodness' sake saying it’s horrible that I’m in shock almost sounds too standard
You laughed about conventions the petty things of everyday life

Of course I’m selfish I stress about dying too
Pneumothoraces tumours kidney stones enchondroma
my body is constantly reminding me that I can be next
So what am I waiting for
to quit, to walk away from the nonsense, to live

I’m sorry for your wife for your family
I’m sorry you didn’t get to write another book
I didn’t know you personally but I’ll miss you
Goodbye my friend

Joseph Ponthus in October 2018