Many before me have died
I feel engulfed in their wisdom
the knowing to you
is just a breath away
just talk to your God
for he will listen
God just wants understanding
of all that makes you tick
just pray dear people
before all is too late
This is the Knowing
the glow within my heart
I need not speak
By Christos Andreas Kourtis aka NeonSolaris
The Tuner's Turn
he's tuned them all it seems
most of the 12,5oo different brands
he has tuned them even in his dreams
in damp basements and smoky band stands
Ballwin, Steinway, Schimmel and Mason
the very best there is to offer
Irving Strausser is the one to hasten
he is the master you want to proffer
a fine tinkler of the ivory in his own right
but never really ever given the chance
he practiced until dawn's early light
the best was a Holiday Inn wedding dance
he was in attendance that special night
at the Radio City Music Hall
he came to see the maestro's delight
but alas had tripped and fallen against the wall
the audience was antsy whistling and clapping hands
the producers were anxious not knowing where
they spotted Irving in the aisle hearing the demands
they begged him play they were in despair
he shook his head saying no certainly not me
I am just a tuner an amateur at best
they begged and pleaded for his sympathy
and well you can guess the rest
he finally took the stage the crowd settled in
he graciously bowed his head and explained the situation
after a few nervous moments he finally did begin
he played oh did he play to a standing ovation
his fingers flew over the keys like magic
this was the tuner's turn to take his place
some of the audience may forget his name
but they will always remember his face
I wait every single day
for the sun to rest
and for the moon to wake
so that i can look up at the stars
and thinking how we were once as beautiful as they are
I wait every single day
to hear the seldom ringing of my phone
that temporarily lifts my spirit
but also causes its fall
upon knowing it wasn't you who called
They all arrive at one point everyday
but what I truly wait for
is yet to come
Or is it?
I tell myself that
the feeling of your warmth
overpowering the coldness of my arms
and the rubbing
of your gentle petals of lips on mine
are all worth the wait.
But I can't help but wonder
if what I'm waiting for is the breath from my lips
and the beating of my heart
or if it's just brutal uncertainty
that I somehow recognise
but refuses to accept
All this uncertainty
strengthens my resolve
but the time will also come
when I'm too tired to wait
for all these things- and for you
who I am now unsure of
Soaked in hard rain
I'm walking forlornly
In a quiet street
With an endless darkness
Without my heart in mine
Left with no one
I wept in disgrace
Knowing tomorrow will not be
The same again
Shivers thru my spine
In this freezing night
Will be forever
Until you came
I recognise the gleam
When you arrived;
You brought me felicity
That I somehow forgot
When I'm in pain.
Failing to remember
All those grief
Will be facile
But pledge you'll remain
And I'll do the same.
Elohim have you forgotten the prayers of your people
Avinu what happened to those praying under your steeple
El Shaddai did you leave them to hang from the rope
Adonai did you care that the bullets their only hope
If you're almighty give them the strength to stand
If you're all knowing see their pain and lend a hand
Is saving a life stealing free will in the eyes of the lord
Can you not speak as you did to Moses and lend kind words
Time is something that is always changing; yet it always moves at a constant pace. My story includes such a small period of time. In one day, there are twenty-four hours, and somewhere in those few hours of January 15th, 2011, my life changed in the blink of an eye. Within seconds, someone I love stopped breathing. It changed everything. But, my story begins a few hours before that.
Wake up. I always have to tell myself to wake up. I wake up and it is a beautiful Saturday. I walk into the living room of my house, where the sun is shining bright through all the windows and I feel like it is going to be a good day. I usually wake up on the weekend home alone, but this time I walk around until I find my dad and my little brother, Phillip.
Dad: “Phillip and I are going to a Valdosta State basketball game later today, if you would like to come.”
I immediately think of my best friend James. James is a part of my family. He got along with my dad and brother better than I did. The basketball game with them would be a lot easier to endure if James went along. He is the older brother I never had.
I pick up my phone and call James, to invite him to join us. He doesn’t answer. James always answers. His phone goes straight to voicemail. I remember a time in the past that I called James with a stupid boy dilemma. James was in the middle of football camp, but he called a timeout. He picked up the phone for me then. I am always James’ first priority, so something seems wrong. I call Drew, James’ best friend, and his phone goes straight to voicemail as well. Something definitely seems wrong. I try to convince myself that I’m overthinking. I always overthink and I always worry too much, so this could be nothing. James is just busy. He’ll call me back later.
An hour or two pass by without response from either James or Drew. As I am cleaning up my room trying to keep my mind busy, I receive a text message from my friend Emily.
Emily: “What’s wrong with James?”
Emmaline (me): “What are you talking about?”
Emily: “I see on Facebook that many people are writing on James’ wall, saying that they are praying for him. Why are people praying for him? What happened?”
Little did she know that I was asking myself the same questions. What in the world is going on!?
Emmaline (me): “Umm, I’m not sure. He hasn’t been answering my calls. I’ll try to find out.”
James was a huge part of the church community. He was the first person that brought me to the church I’ve been attending for the past three years. He was a mentor to me; if it weren’t for James I would not have found the faith that has saved me. After those texts messages, I decided to call someone from the church to see if they knew what was going on with him. Mackenzie answered my call.
Mackenzie: “James and Drew went out duck hunting this morning at a place called Ocean Pond, and James is missing. Drew is fine, but he doesn’t know where James is.”
My heart immediately dropped to my chest. The gut feeling I had been experiencing all day that something was wrong was rapidly increasing, and I suddenly couldn’t keep still.
My thought processes jumped to visualize duck hunting. I thought, when you go duck hunting, it is a little different from hunting ground animals like deer. When you hunt ducks, you spend the entire time on a boat. You don’t go missing on a small boat. James wasn’t playing hide-and-seek. James being missing meant that he was lost somewhere in the water. The odds weren’t looking very good. Maybe I’m worrying too much, but I’m being rational. Right? I put my phone down and slowly slid out of my chair onto the floor. I lay on the floor for hours, crying. My brother came in from outside and just stared at me. My chest was on fire; I have never felt so much pain in my life. The amount of emotional pain transformed to a physical pain that I felt in the pit of my stomach. The sun that made me happy when I first woke up now began to burn my eyes. I felt like I was sinking, but in reality the only person sinking was my best friend, drowning in icy water.
When I could finally stop crying enough to talk, I call my mom. My mom was not home this weekend; she was at the beach with some of her good friends from college. She did not take the news as heavily as I did.
Mom: “He’s just sitting somewhere in the marsh where the water is really shallow. Someone will find him. He’ll be fine, I know he will.”
I begin to feel somewhat better. I tell myself that this does not have to be a death sentence. James could be fine. I decide to call Mackenzie from church again and invite her and her mom to my house to keep me company while we wait for news.
Hours and hours pass by, yet still no news comes. The church and community decides to hold a prayer session at a local park for all the people worried about James. Mackenzie, her mom and I drive out to the park. Hundreds of people were at the park. All of them were there for James. All of us stood in a circle, teary-eyed, and prayed. I have never seen my community come together like that. Rival schools and teammates, people old, young, and teenage. Teachers, preachers, friends, athletes, fathers, mothers, so many people were at the park for James.
We went around in the circle and each person told their story of how much James meant to them. James was a brother to many. He was a mentor, a friend, a shoulder to cry on, a pal to laugh with. James was the one person that convinced a girl to graduate from high school. James was the friendly face that ate lunch with a boy that was alone and contemplating suicide. I had no idea that James meant so much to people other than me.
All it took was seconds, maybe minutes for James to drown. The water was below freezing. The gear that he was wearing was built to weigh him down in order to be able to wade in shallow waters. In deeper waters, he would surely and quickly sink. He drowned quickly, and within seconds he stopped breathing. However, it took search and rescue a month to recover his body. Days of worry and prayer turned into weeks. I had to return to school and try to go on with my life, as if I didn’t feel like it was all falling apart.
Finally, one crisp February morning, a search dog found my James’ body.
I was in my Advanced Placement Environmental Science class, and my phone rang from a number of different people. I went to the bathroom to return a call and found out that someone found my best friend’s dead body. I knew it wasn’t smart to hold on to any kind of hope that he was alive, but knowing he was actually dead made the situation suddenly very real. I tried to return to class, but I ended up sitting right beside the door, crying harder than ever. I had to go out to Ocean Pond, where I spent most of my time for the past month watching divers search for him. I had to go out there and see it.
By the time I arrived at the site, there was nothing left to see. James’ body had been recovered and I would never see him again. All that was left was a teary funeral, and abrupt good-byes that I wasn’t ready to give. To this day I don’t know how to say good-bye to James. I visit his grave, and I don’t know how to leave the picture of his face.
Losing someone you deeply love so quickly is probably one of the most difficult things to experience. I am so thankful that James left behind such a beautiful story, and such a wonderful legacy. The first day I met James, he told me, “Hey girl. You know, I love you. I really do. I would take a bullet for you.” When someone says those kinds of things to you without even knowing you for twenty-four hours, it feels strange. But, James knew time meant everything. He knew that all it takes is minutes, seconds, to change someone’s life forever.
The thing that is so astonishing about James’ story, is that he understood how quickly everything can change. When James was alive, a fellow student of his died in a motorcycle crash. James was devastated that he had not reached out to this boy before it was too late. That night, in a note on Facebook entitled “The Clock is Ticking,” James wrote a short paragraph that showed the depth of his understanding of life. He wrote, “Take time to love someone. Today, Tomorrow, For the rest of your life. Because when that unexpected day comes that they pass on, you'll be left wondering what you could've done better. How you could have made them feel more welcome, and show that you do care for them. Don't wait until it's too late like I did. Show the love that Jesus has for you to everyone you see. Let your heart break for what breaks His. Christ is enough. Let Him show you life. You never know who He may touch through you. It is so sad that it takes a tragedy like this to comprehend how our days are numbered. Only He knows. Keep your faith in Him. He will bless you beyond belief. Our job is right now. This very second. So often, God gives me a little nudge towards someone.. and I put it off until the next day.. and then the next and then the next. Stop stalling. God put us on this earth for HIS glory. Not ours.. and so many times, the things I do always point back to me and my stupid self righteousness. So do something with me. Everyone. If this just touches one person, I will have done my job. Don't stall. Judgement is a heart beat away.”
This my difficulty I can never show in public.
My family name tarnished on a pause.
A fumble forwards towards the right answer that won't come tumbling out of me.
So I wait.
I wait for a crack in the seams; a break in the watch.
A moment to breathe where I can escape away from the responsibility of knowing.
Knowing what is to others obvious.
The poetry of integers,
the finger-tips of legacy I may never grasp.
I remember how it felt,
how it felt
when you went away,
when you disappeared
for forever .
We went our separate ways,
the outcome of
the greatest show on Earth.
I called it love...
I have become so lost in the loneliness,
so wrapped up in the relevant routines of solitude,
that I would give anything to go back
to what was familiar
even if that includes being by your side once more.
Maybe next week I'll feel different,
but it doesn't matter.
This sense of wanting to find love will repeat itself
over and over and over.
When I was your man,
things actually made sense.
I noticed the trees changing the colors of their leaves,
and how the coffee today tasted differently than yesterday,
only because you did.
Now I never take pride in noticing the little things
because I have no one to share them with.
I have no one to lay out on the grass with in silence
no one to hold my arm in theirs on a long lonely drive.
Now empty pages and empty bottles clutter around my bed
I'm hoping one of them will keep me from waking up someday.
Because I don't want to brace myself for the impact of a life lived in solitude.
I don't want to miss your warm hands or the light breeze of your breath
or my fingers slowly tracing through your hair.
I don't want to live a life without knowing
what it feels like to lay next to someone for an entire night
more closely and more intimately than I've ever known.
I don't want to miss being able to carry you up the stairs
when you're too tired to do so on your own.
At least I knew some of that with you.
But now you're gone
and my heart sinks lower into my chest.
I fear that one day it will disappear completely.
Something's been missing in me since you left
and I fear that I will never get it back.
I never thought I'd have to see her like this so soon. So young. So cold.
I should have listened to her. I should have talked to her more. Seen her more. She always asked me why I seemed so distant from her, I always got frustrated and denied it.
Now she's the distant one.
We would argue often. About communication. Our feelings. Her feelings. She had a very hard life. A violent alcoholic father. She grew up untainted by her surroundings, but scarred. Chronic Anxiety and Depression. She would cry often, and get mad and angry for sometimes no reason. She said she didn't know why it happened; it just did, and that I couldn't understand. That made me angry. Even though she was right; I really couldn't.
I haven't had an easy life in the past few years, but it doesn't compare to hers. I didn't know what is was like to be as depressed as she was. To be as anxious as she was. She would always check up on me, because she always worried about me. I myself, just took it and never did it for her.
What a mistake.
I remember my 17th birthday. She was more excited than I was, and couldn't wait for me to finally see what she had done for me. She was adorable when she talked about it. I spent the day with her and she made me a homemade card themed my favorite video game, and a Key Lime pie from scratch. I love Key Lime pie.
How I wish we could make it together, one last time.
A couple days after my birthday, a package she ordered came and she was ecstatic for me to finally have it. They were custom made genuine dog tags. They had my information on one tag, and a personalized message from her on the other. Her message read, "KNOWING YOU HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE, AND LOVING YOU HAS MADE MY WORLD." I wear them everywhere, even to today.
But when her birthday came around, I didn't get her anything. Not even a card. She was really upset, and I felt guilty when she mentioned it, so I never did get her anything; I felt it was too late.
Whenever she was happy, she shined brighter than the sun. She smiled and laughed and was goofy. She would make up little songs about how much she loved me, and she would do anything for me. Now, I can only imagine how she felt when I left for the night, not doing anything for her.
I knew she had had problems even before she met me. I knew she was chronically sad. I knew she had always been a rock, but had slowly started to erode and needed someone.
Why was I so selfish!?
I notice her mother is crying. Hysterically. They were so close. Her mom was so nice, always inviting me over and cooking for me even when they didn't have much food. Now, she looks like an empty husk of what she used to be. Crumpled on the floor, covered in her own tears, mourning the loss of her world.
Her younger brother sits with their dad, hugging and crying on each other, as well as the rest of her family. You can almost smell the saltiness in the air from all of the tears.
I've cried as much as I can. When I heard the news, I was in shock. I didn't want to believe she was gone. But eventually I screamed, bawled and raged at my loss. She was the only thing that mattered to me.
Now I stand here, silent and empty. My mind is numb, and all I can do is stare at her. Eyes closed, chest still, but still so beautiful. I had to battle with myself to even come and deal with seeing her like this. I finally move my stiff hand towards her curly hair and stroke it, and slowly move my hand to her shoulder. I imagine her opening her eyes and smiling at me with one of her beaming smiles. But I know it won't happen, and that's when the tears come.
I'll never see her smile, feel her lips against mine, hug her small body again. I can never hear her sweet voice again, telling me "I love you." With a glow in her eyes.
Why didn't I show her how much she meant to me? Why couldn't I swallow my pride and be a little more caring and thoughtful for her the way she never failed to be for me? Why? I'm sobbing now. I collapse to my knees and rest my hand over hers. She's freezing. I rub her hands instinctively as if it will warm them up, but it doesn't.
I just want her to wake up. I feel as if it's my fault she's in eternal silence now. Apart of the world beyond, when I want her so desperately to be back here with me. I don't want her to leave me. I feel as if I can't live without her, she was the only one I'd ever truly loved, but in the end I failed her. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, I should have shown her more instead of using only my words!
I slowly stand up still covered in my tears, and stare at her sleeping body. I watch as one drips down onto her expressionless face. I use my thumb to gently wipe my tear away, just as I used to wipe hers. Now all I can is do think about what could have been, what I could have done, and what will never be.
"I'll miss you." I whispering through my sore choked throat, and kiss her cold forehead.
"I love you."