This world has lost a hero. His name was Craig Lorraine, but he was known on the streets that I now inhabit as Bongo. He actually played the marimba on those streets and sidewalks incessantly, but such a lexical particular was of little matter to his colleagues in The Life. The moniker Bongo seemed to fit this great bear of a man with a voice that rumbled like jungle drums, just fine.
Many a stranger walked by this fellow and took him to be mad and utterly dissipated with booze, and in so doing never earned a little bit of the abundant, unconquerable heart that Bongo possessed and unfailingly strove to share. I can truly say, in my life full of somehow acquiring beautiful friends and even meeting the likes of the Dali Lama, none quite paralleled Bongo's sloppy poise in executing love in smile, a wink, or a single beat on those wooden keys with a mallet that was tiny in his big hands. He also was handy in offering useful advice on how break into an abandoned house to find a place to lay your head on a cold night.
We can't sugar coat the fact that it was, at the foundation of his demise, the terrible disease of addiction that snuffed out Craig's gentle fire. Stupid drunk, he fell down and hit his head. Lights out. Neither can we discount the fact that the world and the streets of my hometown has lost a living treasure, a family a loving son, and that the Universe is a little less complete with him gone.
Photo: Greg Saulman