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The Play

It's a Mystery

My Friend
Forever Fellini


Restless and pulled forward the
Underground car moves out
Carrying too many little dreams
Two bags
Stuffed with a gap of decades
Off to find my past, my future, and to
Celebrate my friend Choe
This of many stops and starts
You’d think it deserved a yawn
Not this rabbit to bolt.
It’ll be a long wait
From train to bus to plane, finally
To car driven on a whole different
Tectonic plate, this one where my friend
Drives down the roads that
Link my past life
I’m looking for.
A life that lets me open with the day
Where only less than half is lost.
And there he is,
We clasp each other
Like sailors who have made it
Round the horn
Then walking on the shores
Of this endless hall of fluorescent lights
Dutch port, filled with journeymen
Only inside knowing if they search for the road
Or the home at day's end.
For me it is the first of many moments
Where inside I will stop.
Thinking I’ve had this dream before
Finding the car in the corridors of
A lot in many levels
We’re looking to find each other’s lost sheep

Turning out into the lines of traffic
Driving through a loop in a loop
To get on the road, breathing as we pick up speed.
And then the car is suddenly at a dead stop
Hit by a car that has been hit by a car
Physics 101, the transference of all that energy
Coming out in the tears of the woman in the middle car
Whose life is now bent up plastic sheet metal
And won’t get to the place she thought she’d be going to
God is sending a reminder,
Not even a scratch of flesh among us, but
How close we came, and how dear we’ve made the objects
To keep us to the clocks that tick
All the passer-byes slowing down to bless themselves
For they are not us,
While I am closing my eyes and floating above
Where we are so many lines almost intersecting
But never quite
Even with friends and the love of friendship
A hearth so warm I would find a way to break time
So I might never leave the release he weaves to me
Is but a dot,
Scattered among us pieces
Fallen out this grey morning in Amsterdam
Which is black and sleeping
All over America.
The world is pedaling here
Not that they have left the anxious rush behind
No, it is only that hearts are set in tradition
They would still take to the sea, even if now it’s paved
To yet discover the world by the sail of their feet
But they have had their share of ruling class
So they will rest from the impossible
And rush to the untouchable tomorrow

I would stay with you my friends forever
How did it happen that there’s no place for these
Broken bones and the smiles that I have inside
It’ll be over and then we’ll only wonder
But I’m crying for you, my whole life bunched up
Into every day
A box too full already
Like this city
So many shades of grey
Where we’re supposed to change our eyes
And maybe I could do it if it was you by my side
I can’t remember
So long since the last day
We saw life as a companion
Not a period of time to watch without feeling
As it passes down over the horizon.
Now it’s a toast to the next time
What a joy to know contentment
But I’m really just the fool
Telling jokes about fractions
That hold the time together
As I sit on another train, alone.
What a pity I think
She, coming down the aisle, can’t sit here.
With a romantic notion to every lovely figure
But a pessimism that is sure the seat next to me is not for her,
And when it turns out that her ticket is for this seat
I answer
What a wonder to have your company
For it is just as it was fifteen years ago
Riding this rail but in the opposite direction
And that same pretty face took a
Liking to that grey stiletto
I wore on every trip of my youth
Today so foolish and even back then
But as youth carried it something exotic
And so we talked for six hours
Into the darkness, into the night

She spoke of returning to Marvin Gaye
They were lovers but while they were apart she had
Stripped herself of their unborn child and she
Feared his love for her might be buried there
I can see the way the tears welled in her eyes
But I can’t remember her name
Perhaps it is Cindy, for now a decade and a half
Later, Cindy is the one telling me of
The man she goes to meet
South instead of North
As we break out of the grey Netherlands
Into the summer sun of a field, French
Filled from corner to corner with goldenrod in bloom
It is Paris at three hundred kilometers an hour
The same trip in half the time
And oh just the voice and the hope and to
Bring back all that was my treasured youth
Anything seems possible in Paris
As we make plans to meet
Somewhere past the future
At the cafes along the wandering Seine
Sway with the trees where on every other one
Is carved the phone number of
Marvin and Cindy’s unborn son
The train arrives and I must make my way
Again underground, tunnel to tunnel
Passing beneath the city so endearing
On my way now to the purpose of this trip
To meet up with my family and my old friend
Whose birthday we meet to celebrate.
I stop at the Seine and think about my sister
Her arrival will move me backward
But if we can find a way to guide each other
I will gladly go.

Twenty-three years ago I walked here,
My sister in the states almost a 1st grade,
What changes pass, I am blind as I sit
Every part of all the years seem like a sepia tone photo
Where motion is absent, but the depths of two colors
Make the motions seem so close
You sometimes assure yourself
When you see them again
That they were always, and always will be
Alive in you
But it is a game of sanity
Change seen or unseen is always change
So when you sketch where the rivers converge
You hardly notice that the picture is missing something
And that something is you, the you from yesterday.
She comes running.
I had given up on her
At this moment hoped she would not come in time.
We could miss this train.
It would be the chance for just the two of us
My blood that I feared deluded by time, would rejuvenate
In this city so near my poetic heart
For we would all have it by us if we could.
But she is not really of this earth
Her looks stun us all
Maybe even more than when fame walks by
For as unreal as her beauty is
We see that she has not leapt beyond our reach
That she is talking to that funny-looking boy who seems lost
Racing for a train with only seconds to spare
And perhaps it is not too much to hope
That we might win the lottery
And find ourselves in the same sentence
As a goddess

We have come as family and friends
We have come as a family of friends
We have come with the hope of friendship to family
We have come
To expectations that have far to drop
But no more time to mend
The ride from train to house is solitary and bitter
The money doled out by our family
To pay for the convenience of not coming to get us
Seems more dipped in tainted blood
Than in the past we hoped to rectify
We kiss, but inside we are wildly groping for the tether
Out of reach and now we are blind and turned
In the wrong direction
The storm so wild we will be this close and freeze
Before the night is through
But then again perhaps we were always guests
In our father’s house
Even if now our father is our father’s wife.
In the morning the radical priest gives a benediction
For my friend that somehow I have forgotten I came to see
Premonition or self-pity that feeds neglect
I, as we all, will soon reflect on what passed and did not.
Where did tradition and the will to please
Take away the chances that fleet before we speak
I am wondering how the priest got in front of me
For a place at the table
We all find him loving, but what of the first son
Two children of the husband are now step-guests
Who are lost and languid
Fighting the pain in our two very different ways
My sister a winter storm, impenetrable and biting
I, femininity useless as a belle on a plantation
My voice an octave higher, my sister stabbing us with icicles
While my friend is on her own, maybe as she always was
But when I see the pictures later
I will see she was indeed a shadow
I will see her stand at her grave, pale.

The next day my sister and I
Wake with the taste of
Melancholy in our mouths
It takes a long time to move
From our bent fortunes to the
Paradise we have now found
Like physicians at a delicate endeavor
We are working to keep the patient suffering alive
Groping through the cancerous joy around us
We turn our eyes upside down
To try so arduously
Not to join in the life that saturates
Every pore of the world, and we a part of it.
Till we find ourselves at a long table
On a long Summer day
In long skirts and short sleeves
We blink and we have lost the patient
Truly diametric, built upside down
We look in the mirror and find we are full of lost
Laughs and smiles as we toast to our providence
Little children appearing to cast away the veil of
Our so greatly treasured fear and pessimistic faith
For this soft candlelight of day that drifts and weaves
Through our little band with sweet nectar of
All the senses.
Day be glorious
Be joyous
Be endless in my heart so I will see
You every night and lull myself to sleep
By the sway and the smiles of your sundream gleam.
Keep this so I may press back the night,
So I may find my way to your light
In the darker days
Which will strike upon us
Much too soon.

Tomorrow will be dead
But tonight I will kiss you.
She walked the two miles from the
Next town along her treasured path
The woods wrapped around her like
A shawl passed down through generations
The wisdom of a loving Great Grandmother
And a peace we all find at least once in our life
She came to put a man’s face to the boy she met
Such a long time ago and whose poet’s words had
Crossed the ocean in hopes of seeing her too
For he who was I was full of hope to find her calling
On my friend and on myself
Though in retrospect I looked to put a girl’s face to
The woman I knew
So as the sun on that glorious day did set
We made a pact to join ourselves as lovers do
And when the day was done
All gone to bed, underneath covers where dreams are one
You and I stayed by the firelight
And brought to each other the gift of lips
The kiss
By the fireplace and in the woods
Inside each house and by the door
Where the furniture underneath us creaks
And onto the beach with its children and mirth
Where the minnows run and the finch does perch
By roses in vases and on the vine
By sunsets and the rapturous embrace
Of night’s breeze of whispers
By a half-finished beer or a red glass of wine
By the side of the road under blooming tree of white lilac.
For though I care more than I should like to say
What’s captured here may tomorrow fly away
I know the gift that I have been given
Tonight I will forever kiss you.

What should have been to pass,
Perhaps this house one life it has,
We will call to this gate tonight
And wait upon its destiny evermore
We will come at it from two directions
Two, which time will show a meeting
Or accident, with metal pulled apart
A time that takes even longer than it’s sowed
A time to untwist death and lovers' arms entwined.
I am not the boy I was but fifteen years ago
Though that is what I would like
To be at a time before youth was spirited away
More likely burnt paper.
But if you could have brought a child
What kiss I was meant to give
What road, with such companions
I’ll never know,
And you a wandering on that path
All this time
So many I love have known
And I am envious
For time will tell me
That my heart was right
One space inside
That fits but two
If I will let it find its way to me,
And she to me
The magic gift that comes without a box
Might tear the house from its foundation
Swept in violence but
Gentle on to two
Into the dark and endless sea
Oh to bring these two together tonight
To burn the flame and douse the light
Like a movie script
That Italian genius might write
For as I begin
Just as quickly God may end.

And while she and I
In each other's arms
All the time my friend sleeps above
Or is restless I’ll never know for sure
But we’ll not bring her down
We wish her the sleep so richly deserved
For we have known her heart
Of rarity and openness
To leave your kindness so your
Tainted humanity feels forgotten
And you can love another without
The haggard hue of jealousy
One often feels when with another
Who has found something
We search for till our dying day
No, tonight we’ll not wake our friend Choe,
We wish her slumber
And all that could be better
If I could sit in the clouds of those dreams
Protect her if the undimensional creeps in
Float with her while we wonder what above
Will know or not what pages written will turn
And where we will go when ...
Tomorrow when there are no more pages left
In the morning when we rise and
All is as it still should be, we stretch and take a run
There is somewhere to go in the temple of the body
When we find no answers and
The world no longer seems endless
Every road a path already traveled
Even the sky a blue already stretched
On a horizon that woke so long ago
When the mind only makes you torturously blind
There is somewhere to go in the temple of the body

There is somewhere to go in the temple of the body
Where the inward movement of muscle
Tendons filled with reborn cascade
Something shared with everything not made
But born
The grass heart beating with each stride
The sparrow cooing with each breath
Shared and only had by one
Only brought to this
Divinity is a uniqueness that moves on
Always in a way that the end is in sight
But never reached, but never hopeless
There is somewhere to go in the temple of the body
Go, forget, and live
This, not endless, but the replenishing gift of God
That sailors know
From the sheets that cup our hope
And bring each life its sooth and comfort.
Though in a group or in pairs we are walking
We are truly lone runners and sleepers all
Nothing is really left but the exhausted shell
Still standing in full battle dress
Unable to make sense of the fact the war is over
We work hard at losing ourselves
In unconsciousness or dress
While making sure we take in all the sights
Breed the culture that identifies us
And makes us worthy of our own
Dubious praise.
We cannot stay in one place
Or hold our beating heart in our hands
To cast away the stones that sink us in the sand
We will wash so hard that with the dirt, away the skin
And will mix the blood of all our sins
So when they ask what’s wrong
We know we want the truth no more
Walk on these cobbled streets, exhausted shells we are.

God is imagining a perfect day and on these hills
His thoughts take form
And we, the blessed pass through them
As unnoticed as the wind and for the moment as free.
Our car pulls up, back from the market, having left our friend
To sit and rest in the cupped hand of her treasured view
The car door opens knocking the last domino down
We cannot run fast enough to reach my friend,
Already fallen into the precipice
Each leaf from bud to blossom to release
In one so unprepared and yet so scripted moment
She has broken free
Spinning to the ground she seems as green
As when we spoke this morning
But all the breath we breathe
All the force on to her heart we extort
With all our fervent will we give
Cannot find a way to sew her back
Onto the tree we now so fervently cling.
She is sleeping I am sure but not with us again
She is sleeping I am sure but I can see her body
Now for what it is
This shell
For even though I stand above my friend,
As the doctor closes his bag
Giving only sympathy, all else is beyond his realm
I realize she is not here at all
We have come home to an empty house
She packed nothing and vanished
No note, no kiss goodbye, no milieu of regret
I see her not below me, just a strange shape
A rock that was for so long a sculpture
But in one moment
Is but a rock again,
So the pain inside me is the view into the future
Where I will remember when that stone
Did smile, and give me that call of faith
That life may yet be a gift I will learn, as
Love as long as I do keep.

For a hundred thousand years
I walked these streets
Cobbles, or dirt, or grass
Walked them alone
Companions many, but without one to hold me.
During these days I can see
All the paths I walked, they
Fall on each other everywhere I look
Sometimes the bodies entwined like lovers
Sometimes like the corpses from a war unremembered
Stacked so deep it is an effort to find the ground
A black moon shining as the bright of day
The pavement to the cemetery is too hot.
Death makes time disappear
There is no start or finish to anything,
Every moment an eternity
Every day gone with hardly a glance.
Still, distance exists and I am desperate for it.
Suddenly I am eye to eye with my grandmother
Dead so many years ago
But her greetings when the cancer had hollowed
Her out, a prayer for it all to end
The riddle that I must come eye to eye
With every death and now on the face
Of the only child of my friend
Her bitterness saturates and lashes out,
Asks us with a cynical spin
Who is missing the next morning
At breakfast without our friend
But as I could not answer my last
Grandparent and her drawn-out end
I cannot tell the daughter now
That the pain she feels must bend
For what is missing is not her mother
But the joy our friend could bring.
Brought to this table to the very end
And if she would but try, lives on

You send us children to the beach
Because you are afraid as all adults are
That we will make you forget for a moment
Your pain of lose, by showing you how
The beach is warm
We play in the waves of water and sun
Minnows swimming around my feet
There’s a moment when I touch your shoulder
I leave the years behind
I forget who I am
I give away the I,
Heat through tempered glass
A song lighting it’s way through the wind
Nature a painter's pallet
Yellows and blues playing
Falling into each other, green and then
They fall apart again
In eyes, and ears, and nostrils
It’s all warm
It’s all beating
It’s life.
Would that the parents could see
These are the children our friend would have
Us be.
No I mean no disrespect,
I will not forget that she is not here
The tear inside me as jagged as a lose can cut
But if I let her life, not death rise inside me
Give away the pity I feel for myself with her not her
It is a warm kiss she shows me and I will
Keep it

My father is crying next to me
I put my hand on his shoulder
Squeeze and for a second I think we might
Hold each other tight
But he draws back like a parson from something unholy
He is a man, he is the father, I am the child
And now I feel his repulsion fill me
As if I were kissing him on the lips
Or as if he is crippled, retarded
And I am beating him
Because he is old and he is a discomfort to me
And here before the congregation
And the priest is laughing
And everyone is turned in disgust.
Why is it so?
For I ache to comfort my father
I was born to the role,
There is a place in my heart where pain can go
A place so deep inside I often think it is someone else
For if I look,
I run into so much anguish I can’t imagine
There is any space at all.
But when I comfort I find it though,
Others tears is so thick it sweeps all into a
Torment sea that there is nothing left to
Hold onto that does not give
Way till together we find that the
Sighing has a rhythm to it
Gentle and forgiving, endless, rolling, connected to every
Direction the sense can see, it plants the pain,
Like this corpse knocked on each wall
Till the soil is glorious and
Grass bends, kissing the knoll of the sleeping.
I have this gift, I wish you could hear it’s
My father.

To say good bye we dance from bale to bale of hay
Dance generation to generation
All manner of distrust and remorse forgot one given breath
Each jump lightened by the little string from
Us to the moon soft in upper left-hand corner and the
Sun sure and rolling down the other side of that long last hill
Cowbell rings once, and then again as we
Journey to tomorrow
When time runs out it sounds the same
Everywhere and always.
You hear the song played over and over
Forgotten when you put it away
Till here it is again, brought out
Played not like before but with an
Unnatural feeling of deja vu
With the thoughts floating through you
Makes you dizzy, turning upside down on the
Rollercoaster of days gone by and to come
Wiping out the pain of specifics
And leaving everything dull in its place.
And then we find we are on that road again
Reborn, in the propelling of the events from what was,
To written memories, forgotten by us
Because they are now the story that is us
We grieve, we see our empty shells and we let go,
We start again
We are the cure
We are the ones who will see
A way onto the next turn
Such are the beaded jewels of life
For there is almost always room for hope
As the days tumble over each other
Children scramble to the next and
Sweet expectation.

I get on that last train, alone
A few moments and passages from home
Still thinking in the way of airports,
And the train terminals, and the bus stops
Shuffling our feet at the hiss of air breaks and
Requests for vouchers of payment,
Every tick of the clock a place we're going to
Trying to see our way through to our decision
That we have our reason, our control
While under the powers of others and the Other
And I see it's much easier to get lost, to forget
When She, or He sits next to you
Place to place, moment to moment
Someone to either sharpen our reason, or
Put a calming spell of thought on our fears
So it is easier to see the difference between
Alone and own.
At last, a few more steps, out of the tunnel into the city light.
I miss knowing that I have only my mind's eye to
Remember my friend's face, her smile of unquestioningness
How just having her to meet in some months to come
Would make these passages seem that less hollow
Make the bridge between my family so much more concrete
Make the kisses had and yet to come seem less full of
Tragedy and more of revelry.
No, I will be the one to miss her
More then others will think to grasp
For when I get home there will be a part of me
That will never unpack
A part so sad, so free, so lost, so much a memory
Forever the passenger.