“The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” Arundhati Roy: The Cost of Living.
Poem for Ellen
How could we have known it would be
The last breakfast together?
— Those big, beautiful, German breakfasts –
The last chat, the last film,
last walk, dinner, hug?
And if we had known, would we have done it differently?
We both just showed up,
for each other,
What else should we do but live, while we are alive?
Not because we weren’t afraid did we not hide away.
For we were afraid, sometimes.
But I drew strength from your courage
And for sure, you did the same.
You surely did so with each of your dear ones,
As we filed by in the years, the days, the hours,
the last breath,
making meaning, making hope.
Fashioning courage with the tendrils of your mind and heart
just as surely as your fingers
coaxed fine figures from clay;
just as expertly as your hands elegantly stitched
history and love together
The history of love.
For you loved and were loved.
It’s raining today but where is my umbrella?
Hell, I don’t even know what day it is.
I can’t remember when we first met
Or why I first liked you.
What I remember is you showing up;
Your big, toothey smile;
Your wordless encouragement for all that I am.
I also remember your love of running around naked,
How you adored music and art;
sharing food and kindness and stories.
And, in the face of injustice, how you loved to incite a good fight!
Today, some key words are missing in my sentences,
the meaning is not very clear;
nothing makes much sense.
I scramble to rearrange the words I still have
Now so disappointing and inadequate.
I look into the eyes of my friends
Not for answers
But for a signal, for permission
to join hands
and tentatively to begin
to follow the scent of that strange
fugitive creature of joy and beauty.