Mike Amado (1975 - 2009)
Mike Amado was a fellow poet and a fixture in the Boston poetry scene, despite his home base being in Plymouth, where he hosted a monthly series. His ability to get around--and appear to be everywhere--in spite of the distance, his dependency on friends and public transportation, and his long battle with kidney disease, was something I admired in him. He even briefly served as (his words) the feature wrangler for Deb Priestly's Open Bark at Out of The Blue. We read together a few times (once as co-features for Jamaica Plain's Word On The Street), and I had the pleasure of being introduced by him for my own feature at Open Bark in 2007. Last September, he invited me to be part of a reading coinciding with Plymouth's 41st Annual Juried Art Show. The film I shot that day of just having fun with friends turned into my "Plymouth Quest" series. I haven't even finished it, and I'm still looking forward to, only now with an eye for adding as many clips of goofing around with Mike as possible.
The last thing we filmed was the commerical for the Out of The Blue Holiday Raffle, shot right outside the gallery just after the Ibbetson Street reading last November. It was the last time I would see him. What wasn't shared with the public (because I misplaced the video file) was a reading by him from his latest book, Rebuilding the Pyramids (Poems of Healing in a Sick World). I was impressed with his newest work and his bravery to tackle a topic that was clearly an ongoing struggle for him and one that didn't allow him that great an advantage of hindsight. I was looking forward to buying his book and featuring him at Stone Soup again in a few months.
I only got more and more friendly with Mike very recently. I never asked him about his struggle for a donated kidney (even when news of it was shared online). When we were about to shoot the raw footage for the raffle advertisement and I handed him the ticket roll, he laughed and said he thought he was going to be able to hit me this time. Having seen the idea online recently, I said later that we should have an online imaginary feud (with filmed footage and bonus sound effects). Of course I'd let him get even with me later. Of course he was up for that.
I really wish I'd let him take an imaginary swing at me that day.
I hope I can find the clip of him reading from his new book. I hope he signed his for a few of us. Talking with his friend Jack Scully, I found out there is enough of his poetry for maybe four or five more books. I owed him a lot, and I'm still selfish enough to want more from him. Luckily, with friends as gifted and determined as Mike, we sometimes get that.
Thank you, Mike.