Thursday, December 15, 2005

R.I.P. - Charles "Bonesy" Jones

On the 15th of November of this year, my good friend and mentor, Charles "Bonesy" Jones passed away. He was 60 years old.

Just after the first of the year, while riding his bike at night, he was evidently struck by a car. No one is quite sure what happened. Mr. Jones had no memory of the event itself and even suggested that perhaps he had just fallen off his bike - over and over. (He referenced this, in his typically cryptic way, in his post from January 27th.)

However his injuries were fairly severe for a man his age: a major concussion and a badly separated shoulder. Initially this was thought to be the extent of it. But as the weeks passed and the wounds and shoulder healed, it became obvious that he was also suffering from some cognitive problems. Problems with memory and a progressive aphasia that further deteriorated into feverish dementias. His health declined rapidly over the summer. By October, it was clear to him that he did not have much longer to live.

He always hated doctors and hospitals and had no desire to spend his last days surrounded by either. He asked me if I would assist him in making "one last pilgrimage to the Desert". Of course, I agreed.

He died beside the fire on the cold but clear night of November 15th in the hills above the Chama River in New Mexico, not far from his beloved Monastery. His last words were: "In the end: bones..." - as fitting an epitaph, at least to my mind, as any Japanese Death poem.

I knew Mr. Jones for almost 20 years. No one has had a greater influence upon my life. As much as he prepared me over the years for "the day the bones step out of the skin", it still shocks and saddens me in every hour to realize that he is no more. The absence of his burning presence will haunt me for the rest of my days.

So I come to why I am writing this on his weblog: Mr. Jones graciously left me all of his, resolutely few, worldly possessions, including this computer and his extensive library. There are trunks full of writings, drawings, music and the mysterious ephemera of a rich and strange life. I have not been able to even look at it until just recently.

In an attempt to make some order out of it all, I turned this computer on the other day and began to organize his files. Amongst the labyrinthian folders inside folders, I stumbled upon one for this weblog and a series of notes and images that I imagine he intended someday to post. I remember him mentioning to me more than once how much he enjoyed his "occasional ranting and occluded confessions" related to The Laughing Bone.

It struck me that it might also be a good medium for me to exercise and exorcise a few of my own daemons. Additionally, I hope to publish selected fragments of interest from Mr. Jones. In this way, perhaps I can work through some portion of the grief and loss that seems to never diminish but only increase with each day I wake up to where he is no longer.


Scot Casey

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