Probably best known for the film adaptation of his coming-of-age journal, The Basketball Diaries, Jim Carroll died last Friday of a heart attack in Manhattan.
Carroll was often compared to Rimbaud for his restless, youthful poetry and William S. Burroughs for his hearty drug use. The Basketball Diaries chronicles his prep school years on the Upper West Side, a blur of drugs, poetry, and b-ball. Leonardo DiCaprio played him in the film.
Here’s a bit from Carroll’s poem, “8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain“:
If only you hadn’t swallowed yourself into a coma in Roma…
You could have gone to Florence
And looked into the eyes of Bellinni or Rafael’s Portraits
Perhaps inside them
You could have found a threshold back to beauty’s arms
Where it all began…
No matter that you felt betrayed by her
That is always the cost
As Frank said,
Of a young artist’s remorseless passion
Which starts out as a kiss
And follows like a curse
Rest in peace.