RIP Poetry Angel: for Marty Kruse

I’ve been avoiding my blog because I don’t know what to say. The usual stuff has been superseded by a friend’s death. My throat hurts when I try to speak. I’ve been floating around my day in a sad happy sad.

Life is so amazing right now. I’m living my dream. And yet, underneath it all is a current of sadness for friends and family lost. Each new one reminds me of the others until I go all the way down the line to a boy from my high school who died of cancer. JD was the first friend of mine to die. We had barely graduated.

My Seattle poetry posse has lost a second member. Both to cancer. The first was poet and videographer Gabrielle Bouliane. A few days ago, we lost dear poetry angel, Marty Kruse. He was the kind of guy who would literally give you the shirt off his back. Or the shoes from his feet. He did all the books and merch for our poetry events, and selflessly helped out the community in any way he could. He was an organizer, a rabblerouser, and a big softie at heart.

He and Gabrielle were friends and the three of us were friends and we all ran around in the same circle of friends. It seems like the Seattle Poetry Scene circa 1993-2003 should have a name – the SOMETHING decade – because it feels like a piece of history. For those of you who were there, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe it starts earlier than that, but around 2003 many of us evacuated the area or started other lives.

But we’ve always remained connected. They were formative years. Creative and dramatic. We wrote and performed poetry with and for and through and against each other. A dysfunctional family that loved each member for the part he or she played in it all. We’d seen each other at our best, and seen each other at our worst. We loved each other because of, not in spite of.

When we lose someone, it reverberates through all of us and we are once again connected to and through that scene.

That’s how I’ve always felt, at least. And then I saw this lovely note from Marty himself. He must have written it years ago. This was posted by his friend Marie on a FB page of “Marty Stories.” It’s his entry in her junior high graduation book.

Life is just too short for anyone in our circle of friends. In the event that, God forbid, that any of us depart, we shall not perform the same way. Our circle is unbreakable.

I guess he’s always been the kind of guy to connect a circle of friends.

Marty, man, cheers to you. You done real good.

(and if you ever need a motivational kick in the ass, watch Gabrielle Bouliane’s last live reading. yeah.)


  1. Slice of Mid-Life
    Mar 30, 2012

    so very, very sorry for your loss.

  2. Linda Crosfield
    Mar 30, 2012

    Good words, Danika. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

  3. Jill U.
    Mar 30, 2012

    So sorry for your loss, Danika.

  4. 4amWriter
    Mar 31, 2012

    I’m really sorry to hear about this. Beautiful thoughts, words. Take care.

  5. tracikenworth
    Mar 31, 2012


  6. Deb Marshall
    Mar 31, 2012

    Oh Danika…I am so very sorry for your loss and your pain right now. It’s hard. I know. Sending you all my best.

  7. Thanks everyone. I really appreciate it. Though it never quite sounds right to hear “sorry for your loss.” That sounds so proprietary, as if it were my loss to own, if you know what I mean. I feel like it’s always our collective loss. The world’s loss. But also the world’s gain, for having such people in it.

  8. angela cerrito
    Mar 31, 2012

    Danika – I’m soo sorry to learn about Marty, but I get what you are saying about loss and gain. I’m also happy that you did connect so strongly and become a family during those years and stayed in touch long after. The world has lost. But also gained. And so have you.

  9. Well said and well received.

  10. irenelefort
    Apr 1, 2012

    Sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great person.

  11. Will English
    Apr 1, 2012

    I’m sorry for your loss. I know how tough something like this can be. At least he’s in a better place now.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.