Saturday, August 10, 2013

It has been one year since I last saw you. One year since your 40th birthday. Since you took me outside and made me guess which bike was yours out of a rack of at least 20. Since we ate BBQ from the food truck next to the bar because the bar's kitchen was closed for renovation. Since I wore the outfit I bought on my birthday that year so I would look like a hipster so I could hear you talk about how you thought all hipster things were cool wayyyy before the hipsters did. How you were the original hipster. One year since we talked about tattoos and my first publication. What you said to me when I told you. How everyone in that place loved you, how everyone was filled with joy to be celebrating with you, with whiskey, inside because it was too hot outside because it was August in Colorado. The place I left yesterday. To arrive home to a stolen bike. To impending change. To a reminder that you and S won't be visiting like we always talked about. To thoughts of how I've come this far because of you, and one year farther since, with you but not with you at all.

For the past few months, I haven't been able to read your work. Because every word punches me in the gut, so heavy with your precision and your decision. Every word brings you almost back, which is not enough. I am supposed to be writing about your work, now. I am writing about it. Without looking at it. Because I can't. Not yet. I know the poem. I was asked to do this. But just right now, I can't bear that almost presence I feel when I cradle each line with my eyes, drop off a cliff at every line break, catch my breath one more time before breaking down into tears after the last word. But today.

Today is your 41st birthday. Since then and now, 40 and 41, alive and passed away, I have visited the place you grew up. Not the place you were born, but near it. Or nearer it than I've ever been, at least. B posted this already. It seems appropriate. The way you feel home the way I feel that you're here. Almost. Like salted air. Like a confounding context. Not displacement. But like it. 

Today I am feeling many losses. And I am feeling afraid of every loss that lies ahead. Today is the one day I feel safe in your poems instead of devastated. And I'm sorry that safe isn't the right word. And I'm sorry that I don't know what is. But I know what you would tell me if you were here. And today, that's enough.

1 comment:

Linda York said...

Thanks Ali for your remembrance and for your beautiful memory. Now, as Jake would say, go write.