There's no way to share what Mike meant to me and the people who loved him. The early end of his life doesn't make sense in consideration of the artistic talent and human caring he brought to the world. What follows are snippets picked up from his house as we cleared it after his death.
Born in Milwaukee,
January 26, 1957
at Rocky Point,
Mike at his first showing,
as Art Director,
Milwaukee Boys' Club
Marrying Linn Billingsley
at Grandpa's house, 1980
Von Trier's, 1980
These were the old days. The good days.
The last time I visited was to see Mike's dead body. And yet, his spirit lingered. I heard him in the rattle of the studio fan, felt him in the backyard, spoke to him in the mortuary. How little we know of the lives around us.
The last palette,
Friday, March 14, 6:00PM
A last roll of film
Mike left undeveloped
contained all shots of his dogs.
A recent photo
Although written to a specific person, I found this excerpt Mike had copied from e.e. cummings. To me it captures Mike's devotion to art and apologetic ill-fit with the world.
If I have made,my lady intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes(frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body's whitest song
upon my mind - if i have failed to snare
the glance too shy - if through my singing slips
the very skilful strangeness of your smile
the keen primeval silence of your hair
-let the world say "his most wise music stole
nothing from Death" -
you only will create
(who are so perfectly alive)my shame:
lady through whose profound and fragile lips
the most sweet small clumsy feet of April came
into the ragged meadow of my soul.
from the collection is 5,
by e.e. cummings.