Joe Finnen

I'm sorry Joe Finnen is dead.
We drank together and talked.
Joe was sharp. He read books and he listened.
Joe appreciated ideas and would trade you even.

We felt the same way about the stupid government.
He wanted to shoot it down,
and I wanted to negotiate then.
But he knew more outlaws than I did.

Ironic and humorous,
He was the best pot dealer in town.
Sold it out of his boot
in a bar in Durango.

Everybody knew everybody,
But he was cool and natural about it.
Few ever saw.
None ever told.

Or I would walk home with him, not far,
where, outside his small rented place with Fran,
a big wild Irish rose tree thrived.
I'd never seen one before.

It was plush in summer with big yellow roses,
a carpet of them shading his porch
like an old green and yellow umbrella.
We joked and smoked there afternoons a-plenty.

Fran didn't like me of course.
"Don't take it personal," said Joe.
"She doesn't like anybody."
She feared I was a cop but soon got over that.

Fran had the nicest butt in town and Joe was proud of it.
She was Rocky Graziano's neice.
At their wedding, Fran's father had taken Joe aside.
"I love you Joe, but if you ever hit her, I'll kill you," he stated.

Irish Joe never hit petite Italian Fran, of course.
He wasn't that way anyway.
Joe was confident and tough and didn't have to prove it.
My best friends are all like that.

He was a tall rangy guy from Long Island,
Who'd moved to Colorado and loved it and stayed.
He had a thousand stories and so did I.
We hung together when I was around.

He'd first made love to Fran on a dark football field at night.
She was amazed he'd remembered that.
"Pretty good, Joe," she said.
Finally she became friendlier.

We had a standing joke:
He would buy me a shot of B & B,
And I would break out in handcuffs.
Because he'd bought me one and I'd flown down the road to a DUI.

Finally he managed to build a house but I was gone then.
I sent him some hash once from New Orleans,
concealing it so well he threw it away with the packaging.
Luckily I called and he got it back.

I left him like I left all my friends,
Touchstones over half the globe.
I called or wrote when the loneliness got too bad.
He always answered and helped me keep breathing.

He was the only guy I ever knew
who ate popcorn one kernal at a time;
an amazing act of self-discipline.
He cracked up once when he overheard me using a $20 word.

"Antithesis!" his laugh tickled my ear from across the bar.
He made me feel good.
You would have liked Joe.
He listened.

We both knew a guy, a survivalist militia guy,
Who is still on the FBIs Most-Wanted List.
The Feebies grilled him for days.
Joe never told them a thing.

Last time I called, Fran said Joe had died of cancer,
sudden and painful.
All I could say was
I'm sorry Joe Finnen is dead.


Andy Smyth said…
I knew Joe also,back in NY 1970. Just might be my favorite person ever. Just found out of his passig. RIP Joe and hope I see you again! Andy
Unknown said…
Wow I am doing a genealogy project for my history class and I think Joe might be my great grandpa.. if so thats crazy bc we have a lot in common it sounds like

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