For Rita, Lovely Rita from Los Angeles; half-crazy from sleeping on concrete, half-crazy from eyes looking through you and not at you, yearning for a heart to acknowledge you as human. As being. Darling, you haunt me. You surround me.
For Gary, Lovely Gary from Philadelphia, wavering in a cold-sweat Methadone stupor, falling asleep in the middle of our conversation, in the middle of your words. Eyes rolling back, back, back.
Back before you were a father. Back before you were a boxer. Back before you waited tables and hooked up with other waitresses. Gary, someone held you and swaddled you. Someone out there loves you, Gary.
For the doctor on the way to her brother’s Bar Mitzvah. You can find lead amid bone and blood and muscle, but you can’t find the root of your patient’s hate; that which births vengeance in his heart, that which stokes embers of revenge, that which refines his palette for wrath.
You address the wounds of those afflicted by violence, only to watch them inflict violence on others. Harm, to your lament, infiltrates the soil. It works beneath the surface, gathers all roots and chokes out all life.
You’re just like what Rihanna said you were. Formed. Sculpted. By time and pressure and ache. Through near-invisible, non-instantaneous transformation. Through processes most natural and super-natural. Enveloped by light, you reveal. Turned, you reveal anew. Turned again, you reveal you again.
You’re just like how Whitman described you. Choral. A Spectrum. Mountain peaks and Canyon beds. In both pieces of a split timber, in the blade of the divining axe, in the air, parted on either side. Equally divided among 99 problems, 66 Bible books, 27 alphabet letters and 5 Great Lakes.
Know me, world, but in my timing and on my terms. As I reveal myself, so also do I conceal myself. I will magnify and proclaim rather than confess. I will misdirect. I will put blood, sweat and fears into illusion.
My fingers hover above the keys, readying a fragile and timid melody —
When the LORD, in infant joy, bangs wanton on the piano. He is indiscriminate in His stampeding and cacophony — every bull in every china shop atop the ivory board. Every knee bows in agony, and every tongue confesses “I have never heard such wretched shit in my life!”
But the LORD, He of Grace’s Furious A-Boom-Booming, He of Hope’s Vibrant Wailing, He of Love’s Eternal Revelation, continues to hammer, until at last He produces you; the diamond.
For it is only He, the LORD, who sees all my speckled and fractured sides simultaneously, and calls every side Beautiful. Every side of me I wish to keep hidden in darkness is made awake with light.
Here I am measured, and known, and loved. And found.
Here I am; in the milk of your eye, in the palm of His hand.