I search and search for ways to say:
“You are alive”
but time and time again
my words fall short.
When she lay dying in that stripped-down room
(but for the tubes)
it felt like we had jumped across a sacred portal
into a Caravaggio
the way the room was dimly lit
her skin sallow and clammy
I held her hand and wept
before the future that was now dismantled.
Her dying wish? To be beside the sea
and feel the echo of the crashing waves
across her body.
Most of the things we think
will bring us joy, do not.
One day you might be counting breaths
as I did
feeling so frantic about the suddenness of death,
but now, while you’re alive
so very much alive
why are you holding back your depths?
Why are you holding back the blossoms of the almond trees
the daisies dancing with the poppies in the fields?
What lies were sung as lullabies
numbing your love, your hope, your vision?
There’s no one I will listen to
no civilised advice
nobody who will say be good, and nice and small,
a cornish hen stuffed with my unexpressed emotions.
I lend my ear only to poets and artists
who hold their guide-line
in the dark caves of the soul.
I gift my voice to friends and dogs
and birds who gift me theirs
and to the world despite the grief
despite the greed.
I rage sometimes, defending boundaries,
upholding sacred vows made to the Self,
even the moon backs up her liquid silver
while slithering silently across a darkened vault;
slivered or whole, she shows up, brazen at core,
delivering the goods.
I want so much for you to drop the doubts
and the impostor syndromes,
the guilt and the anxiety.
Only if we amble down those
sun-kissed afternoons together
to the precipice of Open Heart,
throwing ourselves headlong
into the laughing billows;
then -only then- i’ll say my job is done.
Then, only then, the gift she gave me
with her wings will soar
(oh mystic’s swirling riddles)
and we be swallow-tailed
and quick like kites
feather and wingbeat
all blood and sinew to the heights
and depths of every moment.
Effortless, even in our grief
we cry as if we’re making love
to God himself.