In Memory

Jon Gams - photo Dave Seidel

A place to put your thoughts and wishes.

naomi gams-towers

November 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Don’t know if I can write this through the tears. It’s one year today since we lost you, and it’s been a hard, hard time for me and all who loved you and miss you so much. I looked through pictures of you and us when we were little. Lots of them with you loading your cap pistol in that great cowboy shirt you loved so much, and one with your “posse” in Elizabeth,n.j., wearing your fringed buckskin jacket, all of you aiming guns at the camera. Later ones, among terrible school “portraits,” and then the guitar replacing the guns. Now there’s nobody to remember those times with me. I wish you’d stayed with us longer, I wish I could have saved you, little brother. No more to say, your Nomi

12 Responses to In Memory

  1. Susan Levin says:

    Jonathan Joe with a mouth like an O and a wheelbarrow full of surprises.
    Forever young. I love and miss you, Susan

  2. naomi gams-towers says:

    To my beloved younger brother. Today would have been your birthday, and, oh, how I wish you were here for our usual birthday chat, and to send you my love. I miss you so. Your Nomi

  3. Norman Yaguda says:

    My old buddy, JG, had to write something since it’s been several weeks since I heard the news and I’m still thinking a lot about you. Guess you had a bigger effect on me than I realized. We only spoke once or twice a year for the past 20 or so, so what gives? But glad that we did that and glad that our last conversation in October was a good one, filled with laughter. That infectious Gams laugh. When I think about it, there were a lot of people hit with your infections and that happened to me soon after meeting you in NYC while we were in our teens. You doing NYU, me doing night school at City. Your infectious word, infectious sound, infectious intensity.

    In between the lines big brained hipster artiste quirky who also understood quarks. So off we went, listening to Pharoah Sanders, talking Ginsburg and Kerouac & Cassidy and feeling like we knew things. Suddenly the girl who introduced us became my first of 2 beautiful wives (twice lucky?) and she and I are in Berkeley and later you come out and stay with us for several days. Coming to my summer writing class listening to handle-bar mustache professor discuss the need for the writer to be without judgement, walking through Sproul Plaza free, seeing Bunuel and Bergmann movies at the Pacific Archives and at night you walking in on us in pitchblack bedroom, a true C. Interruptus moment. You standing there quiet, we barely breathing, pretending to be asleep. Pregnant pause. Norman, you say, I know you’re up. How many miles of laughter did we get from that? Couple of years later I’m solo heading for the Berkshires where you’re doing video with your artpartner & love AC and I remember the newness and palpable excitement when you put on Neil Young’s Don’t Be Denied & sharing that Time2ConquertheWorld feeling. Playing at the farmhouse. Hitting the keys while that familiar Gams stance — closed blue eyes in guitar reverie swayed in the middle of the room. Going into Arlo’s Shaggy Dog Studio and laying down a 10 or so minute free-form soundtrack for an industrial ( ! ) video that we shot. Getting it right in 1 take and los corporados paying for it! And your own apocalypse now on American soil that I wish we finished – putting it down on half-inch black & white tape! Our Simon’s Rock thespian star – running thru the Green River Farm winding up at the deserted house, frantic wild-eyed exhausted, grabbing cans of food left by long-gone residents. Knowing something had happened but not sure what. Watching the Gams brain tick in its lit-up peculiar & wondrous space.

    And then off, California and New York for me, New York and the Berkshires again for you. And a gift found you in David, great friend & kindred musical spirit & collaborator who could play your wacky compositions and laugh at your Gamsianbrashness and zany humor.

    And then a daughter! Who when I asked about her in those early days, you would say, she’s great. Gams as Dad and I can hear the relishing in the voice. She’s smart and talented you would say as she got older. Talented and smart, gee I thought, wonder how that happened. And as recently as a few months ago we laughed that she’s been in Berkeley and I asked how her artwork is. She’s good. Really good you said. And I remember thinking has the great brutally honest critic gone soft? Lost objectivity because of blood relation? I said send me something and when I got the email of that gorgeous painting, all I could say was wow. My old buddy, right again.

    And your Fascists Call Beauty a Joke song, dare I say it sounds sublime?

    David, Full Circle Friend with potent, eerie and lovely musical elegy.

    As Dylan once said, there’s no greater gift than inspiration. I know there are many more than yours truly who thank you for that gift. You did good, JG. Peace, amigo.
    Norman

  4. robert bogel ( boge) says:

    norman
    bravo…. you hit the circle on the square peg. I rejoiced in the memoir of memories you provoked of a friend I know in passing…..through this time of ours.
    john gams is truely missed !
    boge

  5. It has been so hard. I ache for Ayla every day. And I ache for the memories of the happy times. My crying is less, for now. But My giggles haven’t started yet.

  6. Barbara Moss says:

    Toni, I feel the same way. Please call me again. I’ve lost your number.

    All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I keep hearing XTC songs everywhere I go: radios playing in stores, I don’t know. It’s Jon, I know. He played those X’s and T’s to death when he lived just below me on Hudson St…. but he gave me hell for playing the Roches so much. He begged me to TURN OFF THOSE CHIPMUNKS!!!!

    Is there going to be NY gathering someday, or was one and I already missed it? I miss Jon all the time in so many ways. I have a crappy macally mouse plugged in to my computer, copied after one I used in his office one day. Funny how I think of him so many times when I underline and delete.

    I’ve lost a lot of friends, but right now the hole that Jon left feels deeper and more shittily emptier than others I can recall.

  7. naomi gams-towers says:

    There will be a memorial for Jon on March 9th at 6:30 at the Sue Scott Gallery One Eyed Pig, 1 Rivington St. at Bowery. 212-358-8767

  8. Kit says:

    Hi Naomi ~

    I posted that information on Jon’s Facebook page ~ Should get the word out pretty quick.

    http://www.facebook.com/jongams?ref=ts

    Thanks !

    Kit

  9. Sharon Kennedy says:

    Read at Jonathan’s memorial, November 12, 2009

    For Jonathan from Sharon,

    Though I see and appreciate the great work Jonathan manifested, I knew him being a part of his personal life. This is the gaze from which I honor him.

    He was a man who loved with vulnerability and abandon – relentlessly. My man who loved me relentlessly with abandon. A big heart, and he gave it every day.

    A forceful presence not to be ignored.

    Deeply Spiritual
    Highly Intelligent
    Always Funny
    Loving and adoring
    Romantic as hell
    Intense and powerful
    A beautiful father to his daughter Ayla, and kind and loving to my daughter, Katy.

    Full of vision
    Endlessly creative
    A poet
    A composer
    A leader

    Courageous
    Generous
    Bold
    Astonishingly articulate.

    Big Mind
    Big Vision
    Big Heart
    Big Man

    He hurt deeply. Sought peace deeply. Sought connection with passion.
    He had no choice but to be authentic
    He sought truth
    He knew truth
    He spoke both wicked and loving truth

    I know Jon would appreciate me honoring our relationship in front of witnesses. Our connection was palpable. Neither of us could ever deny this. We danced, laughed, kissed, and fought. We had our many times of resting deeply and peacefully in our connection – that velvety quiet place of sinking into time with your mate. And, so many times we struggled to grow our unshakable connection into some form in this world. We suffered this together. We were friends and partners, lovers and fighters, for nearly five years. We were mates. The simple truth of deep soul connection.

    On Monday, two days after Jon died, my friend Linda appeared at my door with a bouquet of sunflowers. (Linda met Jon once a couple years ago.) She reported that she was “pounded relentlessly all night” in her dreams with a message to bring me sunflowers. She woke with an urgency to follow through with the dream request, calling around to find sunflowers. Linda appeared at my door with the bouquet, and I saw immediately that they were Jon’s favorite flower – of course, how perfect. I then realized that Jonathan was sending them to me through Linda, to connect, to reassure, and to let me know he’s around. In life, sunflowers were literally the flower we gave to each other.

    “Here I am Sharon. I’m in the flowers”. I can hear him say it just this way.

    This is both a profound and sweet example of the grand yet simple gestures of love and connection that he often practiced in life – and he did it relentlessly and with the persistence that my friend felt from him in her dream.

    This was a gesture toward me, but I know he’s offered similarly grand and simple gestures of love for so many of you.

    He knew love both within the human realm and the spiritual realm. He knew that “love is all you need”.

    Yes, he is brilliant, a visionary, and a creative. And he knew, over all, that to love what you love, or to love who you love, is the highest form of expression.

    Jon, I will honor in life all you inspired in me and taught me about love and that which I continue to be inpired by way of your death. Thank you for the flowers, Jonathan. I love you relentlessly. And I am happy for your peace and for the release from the pains you carried.

    My Love,
    Your Oona

  10. naomi gams-towers says:

    Don’t know if I can write this through the tears. It’s one year today since we lost you, and it’s been a hard, hard time for me and all who loved you and miss you so much. I looked through pictures of you and us when we were little. Lots of them with you loading your cap pistol in that great cowboy shirt you loved so much, and one with your “posse” in Elizabeth,n.j., wearing your fringed buckskin jacket, all of you aiming guns at the camera. Later ones, among terrible school “portraits,” and then the guitar replacing the guns. Now there’s nobody to remember those times with me. I wish you’d stayed with us longer, I wish I could have saved you, little brother. No more to say, your Nomi

  11. jay garfunkle says:

    Nomi,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I stumbled upon this while trying to locate old friends.
    Jay

  12. V. Vesuvio says:

    My name is V. Vesuvio
    i wish to know more about JG’s Tomato Heart, Tundra & Dog. (Three Poems).

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