Earlier this week, my good friend Jeremy Miles passed away after a struggle with cancer. Long-time readers will know that Jeremy was a writer and poet, and released several volumes of his poetry over the past few years (somehow I missed his last release, Shadows in Suburbia; sadly, it will be the only volume of his poetry in my collection that will never host his autograph).
Jeremy’s influence in the tiny world of Florence County, South Carolina coffee shops was absolutely massive, to an extent and in a way that he in his self-deprecating humility would never acknowledge. His poetry captured the spirit of a golden age of open mic music, that glorious period in The Before Times, before The Age of The Virus, when musicians and poets promiscuously plied their creative wares in a supportive and encouraging environment. His first published collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights: Everyday Poetry, conveys the energy and creative ferment of those halcyon days, all with his sly humor and playful wit.
He was also a good man—a great man. Always clad in black from head-to-toe, and always wishing it were Halloween, he always encouraged those around him with his gentle demeanor. He was that guy that looked cool, but was never intimidating or exclusive about his natural coolness. He was cool, yes, but warm—a warmth that derived from his sensitive and reflective nature. Anyone was welcome in Jeremy’s circle, and if you could quote Big Trouble in Little China, even better.
Jeremy was moved to hospice this past Sunday, and passed early on Tuesday, 10 January 2023. I was unable to visit him before his passing. While I regret that, his girlfriend pointed out to me that now I will always remember him as he was—joyful, funny, ebullient, full of life, a shining beacon of friendship and love, even in all-black.
I regret, too, not spending more time in conversation with him this past year. He was rallying and even played a few songs with his band, Jeremy and the Blissters, but the cancer—that terrible, wicked disease—won out in the end.
But cancer cannot destroy the culture that Jeremy created. Nor can it destroy his memory.
I will miss him deeply, as I know many others will.
Rest in peace, Jeremy Miles.