Yesterday morning (around 4:30 am EST*), I woke to a lateral FB thunderbolt that shook me to my core. I saw Venus Thrash’s name being used in the past tense. I was confused because just a few days ago I glanced her name and mentally noted it was good to see her back on social media. The last time we saw each other was when we were commissioners for DC’s Poet Laureate position. (The photo here shows a few of us after being sworn in. Venus is on the far left).
I remember us bonding during that period, even though we were at frequent readings in DC. One time after one of our Poet Laureate sessions, I dropped Brandon Johnson and Venus home. Or was that after a reading at the American Poetry Museum? It’s all a blur at this time because learning that someone so beautiful, gifted, vibrant, shy, flirtatious, sensitive and thoughtful as Venus can leave us so suddenly and in her prime is so heart wrenchingly disorienting, it took a minute for me to process. My friend whose baby daughter I am the godfather noticed my solemnness yesterday afternoon when she wished this childless poet a happy Father’s Day. And this makes me even sadder that Venus leaves behind her beautiful bright dynamic son Daniel behind. You never saw them apart. She was such a great mom and relished parenting. She and Daniel were frequently laughing together. Lately Venus had written some powerhouse poems (which I will post in the thread) that she published in a Chicago journal. I am damn sure going to try and cop them for my forthcoming poetry anthology Everywhere Drums, which will be dedicated in part to the memory of Venus Thrash, as well as Craig “Mums” Grant, Al Young, Arnold Adoff, Miguel Algarin and Laura Boss, to name a few of the many poets who have left us recently.
I was really looking forward to Venus’ follow-up to her stellar debut collection of poems The Fateful Apple. I guess the DC poetry family is going to have to make sure that happens. Everyone will tell you about Venus’ eyes and spirit, about her sensitive loving nature, about her soft-spokenness and fierceness, and of course her intelligence, compassion commitment and talent. And we will speak about her as long as there is poets and poetry in the world as alive and passionate and distinctly unique and individual as Venus Thrash is. Her soul lives on through all of us. This news truly breaks my heart. My condolences go out to Venus’ family, friends, fellow poets, intimates, and above all, her dear son Daniel. May a day never go by that you don’t hear the name Venus Thrash.
*On 6/20 2021