At a time like this I want to write
about the joy of your life and not my pain.
I want everyone to share your wisdom,
hear your laughter, know your devotion to Jehovah,
but all I feel is sorrow and devastation.
I want to share stories of our closeness,
the things that came between us and kept us apart.
The things that seemed like uncrossable chasms then,
disappear now in the light of your death.
I want everyone to know how hard you worked
to keep a solid roof over our heads, to feed us,
to care for us when no one was there to care for you.
I want the world to read the words you wrote to me
in the time of my deepest grief and despair.
How you helped me when I had no one else to turn to.
About all the times you held me and said to me
“everything will be okay,” and it always was.
Who will write to me now? Who will be there to shoulder
my tears, to bring calm to an aching heart? Who is left
to tell me they love me and mean it, like I know you did?
Who will I call when overwhelming grief and joy
bubbles up in the heart of this life you created?
You taught me from birth I was different from,
but not less than, equal to,
but not better than anyone else.
You raised me to be independent, even from you.
To make it on my own and I did and I will.
There is no one on this earth who can replace you.
There remains only this hollow emptiness in my soul.
If I could master just one art,
it would be the art of letting go:
of people I have known and loved,
of places I’ve traveled to and lived
of sunsets and full moons I’ve witnessed.
I would let go of this moment
as quickly as it appears,
faster if I could.
I would let go of things I wished for and
especially those wishes which came true.
I’d carry nothing from this moment
into the next.
For each moment
would have but one life,
never preceded by a memory
never, ever, followed by a wish.
First to my mother’s heart beat as
I floated in her mixture of embryonic fluids.
What else was there for me to do, but
listen in amazement to the surroundings of my new self.
To witness sound while my closed eyes waited to open.
I listened to the voices of other children from whom
I was an outcast as their scorn and laughter made
their way to my large, ever perceptive ears
because I spoke with a lazy tongue.
I listened to the untamed sounds making their journey
through the breath, beating, and strings of instruments,
coming out as harmonies and melodies even to untrained ears.
I listened to the grief, tears, sorrows and joys of a changing life,
to the voices of others telling me how to live,
to my own, telling me not to follow their advice.
I listened to the sounds of a thousand crickets from a single
source, echoing off the wind in a room above the ocean bluff.
I listened to the bicycle wheels spinning beneath me
while I peddled hundred of miles in all directions.
I listened to the sea lapping and roaring against the shore
To the pelicans flying overhead, flapping and coasting,
diving into and feasting from the sea’s bounty.
I listened to the silent beauty of sunsets, the rising of full moons,
and the shooting of stars across the black night sky.
I listened to the purrs of kittens and the barking of dogs,
to my own ecstatic breathing after we made love.
I listened to the voice comforting me when I felt troubled,
giving aid and guidance when I was lost.
I listened to my own heart beating and missed it only
once on that day, a year ago, when it stopped.
I have been listening my entire life.
Now I wish to speak.
And so I spend my time remembering
that brightness which fills my soul
and tears apart my heart.
The courtship of queen and king,
the journeys shared and taken,
the love which held us together
when no hope could save us.
I open each door hoping you’ll appear
if only as a ghostly wisp of yourself.
Strange thing this swirling of lives,
the yin and yang, separated in union,
united by the one part
of the other each holds onto.
You fill so much of my life,
even, this time alone.
I know a place where time has
no points of reference to hold onto,
no hands sweeps across its well worn face,
no seconds eat away at existence,
no flashing light marks the arrival or passing.
Here, in this infinite space, all dreams live forever.
Everything, is expressed in the moment called now.
Here, each embrace is the only one I desire.
Here, I come whole and leave so much wiser.
I like my coffee black,
my whiskey on the rocks,
my wine chilled in a flat bottom glass—
the way they serve it in Italy.
I like my woman in ecstasy,
moaning my name out loud.
My eggs, scrambled,
moist but not runny.
I like my sheets and towels
made of cotton, sun dried on a line.
I like walking barefoot in the ocean,
the waves lapping at my thighs.
My music, mostly bluesy and hot—
sometimes soft and mellow.
I like the darkness of the new moon,
stars shooting across the black face of god.
I like life coming at me full tilt,
with no time to plan or ponder.
When I wake at three o’clock in the morning,
I like to write poetry—
Just as I am doing right now.
The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
These things I know—
The soft words of love.
The solitary dreams of a poet.
The song of a thousand crickets.
The voice of a crying heart.
The pain and serenity of death.
The foretelling of dreams.
What it means to be free.