He wasn’t sure, and so he told his dad:
He thought he’d leave his marriage and move on –
His father’s voice was low and rather sad,
When he said, “Son – some things, once lost, are gone.
Now, you don’t need to tell me anymore.
I’ve seen that girl who you have on the side;
And your life’s yours, but I would be a poor
Father, indeed, if I just let this ride –
You seem confused in terminology,
You’re stringing words on which you’ve gotten hung.
So I will set you straight, as best I can:
That girl’s not ‘beautiful’, son – she’s just ‘young’.
See, ‘young’ and ‘beautiful’ are different things;
For cheap new plastic, don’t trade
the sun through trees at close of day
as hand in hand we walked away
and spoke of love’s delicious pang
as footsteps fell and crickets sang
and i remember her perfume
a gentle flower new in bloom
her hands as soft as silk at dawn
as darkness grew and we walked on
in all of that we silent stepped
as love’s fair secrets well we kept
of agonies we only knew
and flights of geese, and fallen dew
the mem’ry takes its leave and flees
like fading day
The day was full of everything; and time
Was spent on ‘this’ and lots of ‘what-comes-next?’ –
The crowded planet settled down to us,
As problems dwindled, or became less vexed.
The playground rang with sounds of full-breathed joy;
And hearts felt lighter, even as they sped
In chests of children of indifferent age.
There was no leader, no one to be led,
Just glowing skies and fire in our eyes.
There was the honor code of lasting friends:
To make the most of all, the least of none;
To neither guess the means nor seek the ends.
I was age four, eighteen, hell, forty-two –
I’m sure we can still go there — how ’bout you?
Down there, where I grew up, the land is flat.
The water and the beach bring people in,
But we lived bayside, where a bayou sat
Ringed off by reeds and houses and a bridge.
I drive through looking; all of it seems strange.
I lived with hills too long where we have been,
And slowly, what I think of normal’s changed,
Less reed and bayou, more of leaf and ridge.
This weird and dim flat land that was my home
Like any home you leave, looks different now:
I loved this place when it ‘belonged’ to me,
But that once-ownership’s passed on, somehow —
And viewed now, as an older, tired man
The flatness seems more me and less the land
The shadows live; the mem’ries are the light.
I call out to a voice that is not there,
No longer listening. No more the fight
Shall take me in. I’ve passed beyond all care,
But not because no joys are left. There are
Some motions, and some stillnesses to love,
And decent balm to put upon each scar.
There’s less and less I find suggestive of
My once great purpose: to exultant live
Among the many, energized, alive —
I still have strength to lift up and forgive,
Yet I would rather wait and watch than strive.
We don’t give in, we simply give up trying;
The shadows live, when it’s us who are dying
Come sit with me beside the fading day;
Our energy is spent, but love is real,
And time is ours, there is no cause to steal,
Nor are there any secrets to betray.
Come sit with me, and we can take it in:
The process of unfolding, and it’s kith —
The what-is-good, that’s more a who-you’re-with,
The melody of all the good that’s been.
Come sit with me, the night is drawing near —
It’s all I’ve ever wanted, just a chance
To take these quiet moments and advance
Into the hope that circles us, this sphere —
So much we must withstand, or stand up to:
That I can stand, when I can sit with you.
The woods reveal themselves, and thereby, me.
Each gnarled path, and tangled root, a time
In how it is a life becomes to be;
The bramble and the mess, a paradigm.
I love the crunch, the slippery, the mud;
I love the stinging cold and somber gray.
The signs of fire, and the marks of flood
Display the manner hard day stacks on day.
The woods reveal what cannot quite be said,
Of living times and dying, mixed in one:
The footsteps heard, like echoes of the dead,
The roaring silence, all the courses run.
And I can also hear, within the breeze,
How one day, I’ll be gone, and feed
Bring me the night and you, and I need little more,
For nothing else intoxicates like this:
A realm of learnings, carried by uncommon core;
The many-volumed novel in a kiss
The lingering, a candle slow to burn the wick;
The curvature that’s well known to the touch —
The slightest little turn that finally does the trick,
The final gear that doesn’t need the clutch
A night and you, it’s all and it is everything:
A time for hearts to find the extra beats —
The sunrise waits to see what wonders we will bring,
A paradise of tangling and sheets
Our wine is so much more than just a fancy cup:
For where the night gives off, we’re only starting up
There can be worlds within a room, it seems;
A population equal parts at play,
At work, at rest, and busy with their dreams.
The hip-hop, and the line dance — the ballet —
All types of dancing, singing, and the like.
The sweat of labor, and the blood of toil —
The medical: the surgeon and the psych;
The searcher, both of answer and of foil —
The populace of every time and place,
Collapsed into a space upon a couch:
Such myriads within a single face
May seem unlikely, but its truth I’ll vouch:
However long, I will not reach the feat
Of meeting all the you’s I’d love to meet