Sunday, January 29, 2017

Looking Forward Through a Rear View Mirror



Michael, when you toss a handful of sand 
to fall upon the tepid sea foam,
do you ever imagine each grain a day?
Or when turning pages of a favorite novel
you crave to finish but never end,
does that unturned prose you cradle
remind you your own is more feather than stone?

Every morning you blow away thunderheads
to let sunshine bathe your grateful skin. 
Before you enter life’s untidy theater,
beneath garish spotlights unforgiving,
twirling for bills from hands of lechers, 
just remember why you groove:
You dance because you can.

Remember those faces left behind:
addicts of self-abuse, junkies of icepick cones
victims of machine-gun attrition
self-medicating with flasks of mercury, 
bulldozing their lives into empty lots
while you plant useless lilies
and scrape away the blood-caked soil.

The impostors too, like the one who paid his loans 
by asking to be murdered to collect insurance—
Oh, I may be dead but I pay my debts— 
or the other whose stage exit required 
pyrotechnics of the first order: a gas tank, 
towels beneath a door, time, and spent phosphorus. 
He lay smiling, half-submerged,
his last act a resignation letter from life.

And your father, the giant you understood too late—
hearing his laughter like granite and thunder
or catching his chiseled grin,
wouldn’t you listen better now?
And, wiser, later your father-like friend. 
Beneath coconut palms beside the bay azure;
you traded jungle city survival tales
like two explorers stewing in cast iron pots, 
never knowing his secret, the certainty of young death,
because he never let you read ahead.

Michael, I remember you seeing iron filings 
a blind cavalry charge towards a horseshoe magnet;
you envied the certainty of their kamikaze path.
But, man, if you already know, why even turn the pages?
If you want to love and be loved, slow down and forget.
Yes, forget about the story, and enjoy the storytelling.


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