When Borges Signed David Franks’ Heart

In an NPR commentary, Andrei Codrescu remembers his friend David Franks, who died recently at age 61. This story stands out for its grand gesture and deaconal justice:

At a reception for the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, David asked the aged, blind writer to sign his heart. He opens his shirt, and the amused Borges magic-markered his chest while David asked: How are you preparing for death, maestro? Borges said: Great question. Ask it publicly after my reading.

There was no after because some uptight college dean called the police and had David arrested on a charge of indecent exposure of the heart. When Borges asked after the reading where the nice, young man with the question was, there was embarrassed silence. The dean was fired shortly afterwards. Listen/read more.

Here is poet David Franks reading “Mistakes” live at the Psychedelly in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1978:

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2 Responses to When Borges Signed David Franks’ Heart

  1. Daniel Schiavone says:

    Thanks for posting the link. David told me this story several times and he had a photo of the event. With David you never knew what to believe. This was made more difficult because his life was as unlikely as his “involuntary” collaborations.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Thank you, Daniel. Is that photo out there somewhere on the Internet? I’m sure David and Borges were a pair to draw to.

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