Brad Frederiksen is a poet. Much of his work is experimental and opaque; he waits patiently for readers to make the connections in his writing, not unlike putting messages in bottles and casting them into the ocean. Some years ago, on my old site, I posed the question, “What do you do when your favourite writers are dead?” Brad Frederiksen answered. I didn’t realise it at the time of course, but Brad’s friend Paul, also a poet, had recently passed away. I felt guilty for asking. Before that, Brad Frederiksen and I were in an anthology together, Miscellaneous Voices. What year was that, Brad? 2008? 2009? It seems so long ago. His contribution was a poem titled ‘Eucalyptusphere’ and mine was titled ‘Untitled 7’, a piece about wanting madness to strike – I think, I don’t like reading old writing and, anyway, these things hardly matter. Since then, we have been friends, partly, I feel, because of our shared interest in literary matters, and partly because our lives have run in parallel, despite our ages (I am 27, Brad is older) and backgrounds and life stages. For instance, we once lived a suburb away from each other. And now, you see, something else. I hope he doesn’t mind me saying, but his father has cancer and is dying. And (I hope he doesn’t think I’m reducing the situation), nestled next to the heart in my father’s chest, is a cancer that, at the beginning of the year, wasn’t going to get him. That was at the beginning of the year. I hope it still won’t get him. Brad Frederiksen diligently blogs at Maekitso’s Cafe (is it still officially called that, Brad?). Even now I read “maekitso” not as a misspelling of “make it so” but as a Japanese word with secret meanings, and I think of it, the cafe, as a physical place with a black cat that quietly moves between chair legs.
I write this on the train. Brad, I think, knows about my train writing. As I write, behind me, some kids play, maybe ironically, a hand-slapping game. You know the one – they slap hands to the rhythm of nonsense songs and a count of one, two, three, four, and end by falling about in giggles.