by Thomas Breen
It’s always difficult to say goodbye to friends. Robby was a familiar face with us at DESK. He was a positive force in the room, showering our chef with compliments, and bringing smiles to those around him. Robby’s memory shouldn’t be defined by his mental health, but if we can find a path forward from this tragedy, surely it should be with a commitment to do better — all of us, as a community.
Thank you to Tom Breen for covering Robby’s story, and to the New Haven Independent for granting us permission to re-post here. –ed.
Rob Talbot was a poet. A teddy bear. An underground iconoclast with a penchant for psychedelics. Someone who struggled for years with mental health and substance abuse. Whose family tried and tried to help him navigate a circular network of court appearances and social service programs.
That life ended abruptly in the shower of the Whalley Avenue jail. The people who knew and loved him have a hunch that the system, that society, let him down.
“A sometimes caustic angel with hot girl energy,” one friend said about Talbot, whose legal name was Carl Robert.
“He was just brilliant, fascinating,” said another.
“He just had a very different perspective on living than anyone else,” said a third.
Talbot died last Thursday following an altercation with Whalley Avenue jail staff. He was 30 years old.
Since Talbot’s death at the state-run detention center, friends, family, local artists, and counterculture acquaintances have flooded Facebook with eulogies for “Robby.” Or, as some friends knew him, the “prince of New Haven.”