by Bob Doran
Around 40 friends of the departed John Ross gathered at the tiny Trinidad Cemetery on May Day to observe International Labor Day, say one more goodbye to Ross and scatter some of his ashes to the winds. The site was the tombstone of E.B. Schnaubelt, who died in 1913. It is engraved with the words, "MURDERED BY CAPITALISM." Ross, when he was alive, claimed that he would have conversations with Schnaubelt at the gravesite and he wrote about them in a 2004 book with that title.
The celebrants decked the tombstone with red flowers (as in red for the blood of the workers) and a small musical ensemble led the crowd in "Solidarity Forever," "The Internationale," and an adaptation of "Johnny Too-Bad," the 1970s reggae hit about a Jamaican outlaw.
~ Malcolm Terence
Sunday's celebration was a continuation of one Friday evening at Northtown Books in Arcata, where Ross held court and read his work over the years. There a circle of his friends and fellow poets told stories of his rambling life and read poems John wrote over the course of several decades. When the reading was done, they toasted his memory with red wine, ate cake, told more stories, then headed off into the Arcata night.
~ Bob Doran
Poet Jerry Martien served as host for the reading.
Videos from the reading after the break...