What is a poem?
Letís think about that for a while.
So your legacy profile was taken down, or your cunt sister blocked me from it, after the last time I messaged you, the only time, since you passed. One final thread to you cut. It's fitting. I was disallowed from seeing you at the hospital during daylight visiting hours. A kind receptionist saw my face, heard my voice when I asked for you, and disregarded the notice. They let me sit with you after midnight. I stayed til around 2. The machine breathed for you. It was monstrous, itís spiritless oscillations, the way your chest rose and fell like a marionette, an affront to all your glorious revels of life. Your hand was warm, palm soft. Mine was still calloused from work. I felt brusque, or whatever is more appropriate, rude, when its rough plane moved across your soft one. Mine is more like yours was, now.
Now is such a different place than you knew. I often place you in such context: What you knew versus what is, as if you might suddenly resurrect and be exactly who you were, and be so out of place in this world. I would enjoy helping you to orient. Youíd try an e cigarette and youíd want a 40 ounce tall boy. Youíd laugh at all the masked faces and demand some friend open their bar for us, a small private gathering. You know, I bet theyíd fucking do it, too. Theyíd do it for you, you smooth talking son of a bitch.
I was barred from your funeral, though I saw pictures online. Your mother looking impossibly stricken. She was a poltergeist in flesh. I thought it a cruelty that she was brought from hospice to the proceedings. Iím told sheís recovered very little mobility, after the stroke. The stroke was a concatenation of thunders, in a way. It was the start of the avalanche that consumed you, a tidal wave of drink would be more apt a metaphor, I guess.
I saw the enlarged photo of you on display, it was taken at the bar with that ogre, Eric Bonk. They probably didnít know that I took it. It was near the apex of your life, before the slow decline. The sly look on your face, chin raised in your perfect marriage of boyish arrogance and, beneath the bravado, a truly courageous self-confidence. Ladies can always sniff out the fakes, itís just a matter of time. A hesitation, an unsteady eye, a lack of follow through. You were the genuine article. You really believed you were a gift to them. And you made it true. And you were.
Iím changed, as the shadow of years lengthens. Iím become both more and less than the person you knew. You knew me brash and wild. I always made you laugh, and everyone. I was quick to roar them down or yellow their spines with a sorcerous look and coldly uttered word, if drink heated their blood. That spirit has matured, taken on a softer light.
The podcast I joined revives him, who I was, a bit, when I write skits and banter. Iíve become the serious person you always saw underneath and addressed on occasion, when we sat by a fire or by a lonesome bar, after closing. The person you showed your heart, because you knew I would understand it, in my way. Those were good talks. They enriched me, for leaner times to come. Those kind of talks are rare now. Iím rarely in person with folks these days. When I am, I say little. There is little left to say. Online talks lack vital dimensions, so I write. Some fear the insight I have amassed, some misunderstand my intention, in delivery. Some see me. Some are still warm. So it goes. Still, it lacks context. They donít see the scars on my hands or how my eyes are gentle. I do miss being truly together, sometimes. It takes a true friend. An old friend. An old friend that is gone is a phantom limb.
Someone asked the other day, on a social site, in a general way, What is something about you that nobody knows? I said, I sometimes say the names of those Iíve lost, aloud, when Iím alone.
I have no photographs. We rarely ever took photographs. The few I had were lost to the flames when I was cleansing and the bonfire roared in a three tiered spire of flames that drilled a screw into the air before my waking eyes. That last bit of magic, our coterie generated. I often make those kinds of decisions. You remember. I lay waste to bridges.
Iíve been watching Star Trek: Picard. I guess itís why I think of you more lately and why Iím writing to you now. I canít reach your legacy profile, so Iíll leave it here, in a place I have made a home to my voice. A place I have made friends. Iíve assembled many points we would have discussed. The deepening of the Romulan culture is beautiful, all based upon their secretive nature. The false front doors to homes, with the true door in back. The public, private and true names. Just the right touches of sentiment, nostalgia, with a rich array of new characters. Itís the next iteration. You would have understood it, the way that I do, seen the threads carefully woven into the past and reaching forward. More like roots, trunk and limbs. We understood how stories live. How they grow. You introduced me as a storyteller. I introduced you as the libertine. They delighted in us. Young and old. In our fresh and ribald audacity. True friends share a single soul, truly see each other.
I have little evidence of the past. A few artifacts. They project light, shadows and quiet motion, onto my eyes, when I look at them.
There is nothing else. You exist now, only in my memories.
So now Iíll ask you again, What is a poem?
I think the individual answer is directly proportional to how deeply you love.