Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Donny The Punk Is Dead

Posted by ilbebe on December 15, 2008

Donny the Punk is Dead

I was sitting in a bathroom in Seattle in Dec 2004, reading an old copy of maximumrocknroll, dating from I believe 1995 or 1996. A letter in the letters section read “Donny the Punk is Dead” and asked anyone who ever knew Donny to keep them in their memory. I had a nice haughty laugh as I continued shitting under the comfort of a heat lamp; the temperature outside was close to 40. What was there ever to remember; stealing from 7-11’s, stealing from each other, getting kicked out of things and puking? I was sitting in the same place where less than a day later I would be trying to extract stimulation from a People magazine to whack off. I was giddy; here was irrefutable proof that death still saddened punks! It seemed to me like a deathbed repentance, a plea to not be forgotten that seemed to run against the entire concept of being a punk as I understood it at the time: fucking shit up as if nothing mattered, because nothing mattered. But now here it was, proof that punks were humans too, and it seemed pathetic. I kept chuckling as I wiped my ass.

I was in Seattle because I’d lost my mind. I was crashing on a friend’s floor, showering once a week, drinking forties and crying on the shoulders of strangers who had the mercy to offer them. I was telling myself I had too much pride to move back in with my Mom or Dad back in California. I was scaring the hell out of people by staring them down, and it scared me to death. I tried to commit myself for alcohol abuse and suicidal tendencies at the King County Social Services office in Belltown, and they told me to take a number. I drew number 13, no joke, no fucking joke, and when my number was called they said they couldn’t help me that day since I wasn’t a King County resident. When I asked if they understood that I felt I was danger to myself and possibly others, they said they’d give me a call in ten to fifteen working days. When I asked them if they understood that I was trying to do the right thing, trying not to hurt anyone, trying not to end up in the hands of the police, they said “Look, we’ll call you. Next.” I considered assaulting the social worker I was talking to, thinking perhaps I could get a more immediate response from the Police, but I didn’t really want to hurt anyone. I was just sad.

I walked out the door sobbing. I took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and I realized it was the Winter Solstice. I saw how brilliant the sky and the water and the other boats were, and how beautiful the other people on the ferry were, and my hands were shaking. I went to a bar and had a glass of orange juice, and then a coffee, and then I got back on the ferry and went back to Seattle.

I realized I was one of the lucky ones. I’ll probably never know what killed Donny or even any more about who he was before he passed; I don’t know his whole name or where he was from. I seem to remember the person who wrote the letter was from Pittsburgh or maybe Cleveland, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone loved you, and will miss you forever.

I’ll never forget you, Donny.

Peace on your way.

9/10/08, 12:39PM

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One Response to “Donny The Punk Is Dead”

  1. JR said

    Er, don’t know if you still check up on this blog but “Donny the Punk ” was a man who worked to end prison rape after having been traumatically raped in prison himself. The name refers to a male “bottom ” in prison. Not sure if that brand of music was deliberately named likewise.

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