It was 3:00 AM in early UVA spring 1977
Me slumped in a straight back dorm desk chair
Beginning again after a short hot pot break
Hazily typing a nearly due
“Compare and contrast” anthropology paper
I finish a line
I hit return
My IBM electric’s platen zooms high-speed right
Slamming into my recently filled Boynton mug
Launching bears into flight across the quiet dorm lounge
Shooting an International Coffee Suisse Mocha spray
Ceiling high and room wide as my favorite
Mug crashes into a hundred sharp shards
The bridge rumbled loud above our heads
As we scoured rocky Maine tidepools
Seeking starfish amidst the copious golden kelp
Flipping stones, scaling boulders, puddle jumping
Searching for life signs beneath clinging shells
Slip-sliding our way nearer the churning sea
Mist not rain dampened our slickers and
Fogged my glasses, wiping away drops while
Seeking the five pointed cherished prize
A champion photo op of the highest degree
All the time knowing while precariously climbing
The full emersion exploration is our actual joy
Their tragedy opened ancient wounds.
Long ago fossilized in thick lead vaults
(Have you ever seen Napoleon’s tomb?).
Now pain is exhumed as the heat of loss melts
Glaciers’ frigid layers into streaky puddles.
Aqua tears flow into forgotten gullies.
Now it’s knotted stomach and fitful sleep.
Isn’t this the definition of Advent?
Or reclaimed doughy tenderness?
The price of ubiquitous window peering.
“Vicarious pain is real,” said the missing limb.
Now those crusty lacerations bleed thick fresh
Blood oozing red, raw and open in the new heat.
And dreams touchably vivid in anthropomorphized
Humiliation and sympathetic sadness steep black.
Now I’ve picked sides (my side).
But as a wise man said back when my heart was torn out
“The fact that the sympathizers like you better only goes so far.”
So I’m sad for me (or her) all over again.
My late summer walk across a steamy stadium lot
A thin young man in the wide hunter green head
Band restraining long thick curls brings on
Weighty full emersion nostalgia while blinking
Red, green and yellow river spanning lights
Oddly comfort presenting a holiday invitation
Sweet familiar smoke mixes with humid air
While sweat trickles down the back of the shirtless
Man walking ahead of me in camouflage shorts
And a full-sleeve tattoo swirling wildly in contrast
To the Philly Sports team logos tattooed on his calf
And ankle 76ers red white & blue and Union crest
I wonder where the Phillies are as his girlfriend
Pulls out of his reach as he drunk ambles turning
Left his incongruous billboard body mesmerizes me
The beer spilled 3 rows back that made slinky step
Progress toward my shoes whispers a sickening frat
Party aroma snapping maudlin memories back to now
At a certain point everything is evocative
Immersed in kaleidoscopic granite truth
Just over there floats the intricate story
As widening eyes accelerate sad departure
Leaving full sensation and leaking particulars
Beyond reach as cloudy ghosts dance
Lush details race through a hedgerow maze
Fading veiled memory sprinkles foggy crumbs
Weighty yearning loss