I still have the tie I wore to m grandmother’s funeral, one I conducted, but the suit from that day is long gone, and just as well, for it would be several sizes too large for the present me.
I’ve only worn the tie once since that rainy day in Maryland and then to a wedding to balance out the sadness with a bit of joy, the tie deserved at least that for standing with me in the downpour, urging me to recite the ancient prayers as quickly as possible.
I have had two, although the first is long forgotten, so perhaps it no longer counts, it certainly didn’t to her, announcing its end like the conductor of a train running late on the mainline to sadness.
Perhaps I have not forgotten but all I see is myself standing alone, intoning words to which the crowd intently listens, much like the audience at a reading by a lesser known poet, feigned polite awareness.
I’ll just say I’ve had one for it is easier that way on all three parties.
He sits, suited in black, with 88 keys at his command, and we fall silent. He opens the lock of joy, the lock of sadness, the lock of elation, the lock of tears, the lock of laughter, the lock of darkness, the lock of light, the lock of surprise, the lock of compassion, the lock of love, and we peer through each door, unable to enter fully unable to turn away. As we walk out, we know we have tasted Buddha’s promise truth and we go off in search of the 63,999 remaining Dharma doors.
Between now and then, between yesterday to and today, between night and day, between birth and death, between good and evil, between heaven and hell, between light and dark, between joy and sadness, our lives occur and we are so seldom there to see it happen, lost in dreams of what never will be, never was.
The woman at the next table stares at her fork with eyes which appear bottomless pools of sorrow. She picks at the noodles, raises and lowers the glass of wine without sipping. She is lost within herself and even the waiter approaches with trepidation for fear of falling in and drowning in her sadness. In her eyes are pools of cabernet spilled from glasses cast aside by retreating lovers, the blood of a mother who died in her birth, tears of a father hopelessly alone. You see him returning to the table and a smile of faint hope crosses her lips, lingers a moment and is drawn into her eyes. She watches him finish his wine and with a nod of his head, hers, and she sinks back deep within herself.
First appeared in Erothanatos, Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2019 at Pg. 41
He is bent over, walks with a shuffling stumble. He follows the path, inscribing it center or as close to it as he can get. He wants to say hello to those who would acknowledge him. He doesn’t understand why his mouth refuses to smile, refuses to form even the simplest of words. All he sees is her face, he sees it clearly when he walks each morning as they used to, and he will follow it until he sees it again the loamy soil they will share soon enough.
He hangs on the guest room wall, simply framed in black, adjoining his more ornate, Cheshire- cat smiling sister. He isn’t brooding really, there is just a certain needful sadness, as he stares out, imagining how he pictured things would be, how they were supposed to be, realizing here, they never were, never will be, and although there is no failure, no blame, he wears it as his personal armor, still so easily pierced by dreams.
It is like emotions are something you wear on your sleeve, he said, picking at threads of sadness, trying to pry them from the fabric of the moment, never understanding they were the warp of his existence, joy and laughter, compassion and empathy the weft. She said, that is only an illusion, and you know that illusions are not real. She held his hand, smoothed the fabric, tucking away the odd thread, hoping that he wouldn’t pull at the selvage and be forced to watch the happiness of their relationship unravel before her eyes.
Between now and then,
between yesterday and today,
between night and day,
between birth and death,
between good and evil,
between heaven and hell,
between light and dark,
between joy and sadness,
our lives occur
and we are so
to see it happen,
lost in dreams
of what never
He will tell you that the distance between a tear and a laugh is the span of a mother’s arm. He knows the duration of sadness is identical
to a shnork*. He cannot understand how you could have forgotten all this. He doesn’t know why you cannot recall that enlightenment is no more than a giggle.
*shnork (n.): the sound a grandfather makes as his nose approaches, then just touches that of his infant grandson.