tonight we gather
to mark a
four decades on
from a late June
bon voyage wishes
departing a grand
our bold sails
in pursuit of
the grace of
the gift of days
as we reconnect
to share the joys
and wisdom gleaned
from well lived lives
we will also celebrate
in multicolored splendor
the lives of classmates
who have commenced
journeys to other
in our memory
surely the spirits
of the beloved
will walk this
their quiet presence
will gently touch
as they once looked
on their finest day
and as we relive
the bits of our lives
we shared with
we may feel
the grasp of a
as we once did
west end walk
we’ll dance with them again
around Tamblyn Field bonfires
gyrating in a shared
we’ll applaud most likely
to succeed lives
most beautiful smiles
and crack up
to the hilarity of
class clown jokes
we’ll taste the kiss
of an after dark
groove to the
beat of a
bad company tune
we’ll submerge again
in a Yellow Submarine
to embark on an epic
we’ll roll down
the shore on old
we’ll taste the sweet sip
of Cherry Cokes
and Root Beer floats
chasing lost love salty tears
spilled over dopey upperclass home boys
and the soft blush sentiment of a
first French kiss
wouldn't it be nice
to swoon to the
filling our head’s
heady chess club
we’ll marvel at the disruption of
premillennial breakthrough science projects
created by pocket protected slide ruling
entrepreneurial math wizards
we'll recall droll gossip
by drab hall lockers
dim gym showers
Yippie people power
cool sharp dressers
right on brother
Que Pasa lil sista
rock and roll album covers
Simon and Garfunkel poetics
Go Go Boots kickin
FM radio psychedelics
from the cafeteria jukebox
Civil Rights, Earth Day
anti war activism
tribes of hoods, Ra’s,
jocks, artistes and tie dye hippies
everything is groovy
lets get a sandwich at Ernie’s
first carnal explorations
Moody Blue Tuesday trysts
man could she speak German
boy do I dig her dress
we did hard time together
at split session detention centers
ate chocolate chip cookies
cracked up to Mr. Thomas’s
Ides of March tragedy
took first tokes and
sips of Boones Farm
we partied hard
and did no harm
admired academic brainiacs
and the civic commitment
of student govie reps
shut down the gubmint
was never a threat
sexy Ludwig soccer teams
kick ass marching band fanfares
compelling masquer presentments
Park Avenue wayfarers
on The Soul Boat
to Midnight Rambler
cruised hard in
the Root Hog
Rat Raced Louie
in tiny white Pintos
many a mile
with our lost
on the road to
are our stories
telling our stories
keeps them alive
some may say
gone too soon
but the measure of
a well lived life
is not counted
in days, nor
but how one has loved
and how much one was loved
always with us
forever to be
part of us
as the brothers
from Cooley High
lets tip a sip
for the brothers
and sisters who
enjoy the evening
vaya con dios mis amigos
Sa maraming taon na ating pagsasama
Maghihiwalay para sa panibagong gera
Bawat istorya tumatak sa utak nitong makata
Wag kayong iiyak, tayo'y muling magkikita.
Ang pakikipagsapalaran sa susunod na kabanata
I heard that he was insane
That his feelings were uncontrollable
I heard he committed suicide
It sounds so incredibly horrible
I heard he was seeing a shrink
I heard he thought he was fine
I heard he told him,
told him he could call anytime
but when he really needed him
He was declined.
I heard his father
he told him to be a man
He told him he couldn’t
and would never understand
I wonder has the guilt
swallowed him whole
I wonder will anything
fill his now empty soul
I heard his girlfriend she said goodbye
she was sick of the whines and all his cries
he said he didn’t need her
he needed no one
but in the end we all know he needed someone
I heard he did it with a gun
I wonder if it hurt
I heard he couldn't take it
All the pain and all the hurt
I heard he had a brother
a mother and a dad
I saw them at the funeral
they were bitter sweetly sad
I wonder does a tiger cry
when a brother loses his life
I wonder can you catch a tiger with a tear in its eye?
I guess I just expected
It happens every year,
I get excited
This year will be
Maybe I'll find an awesome friend
Who does my nails
And answers calls at two am
Like Nicole did
Before she moved to California
Or she could be like Kayla
Who would be silly with me in
And use chocolate sauce for blood
In our Black and White movie
Before her dad died in combat
And she went to bury him in
Some foreign country
Where cell phones
Or a boyfriend like Louis
That I could see a future with
Sitting listening to Relient K
In a college dorm
With a million years to spare
Before he left for London
But the girl in front of me
Pops her gum for the boy
In the next desk
And could poke my eye out
With her fake straightened hair.
The girl in my drama class
Cakes on her mask and
Participates in pageant after pageant
And calls her anorexia
And I heard the rumor
That the boy I thought was cute
Was caught fingering his
Under her desk in
I didn't think my standards were too high to meet.
I have not written poetry in too long. My hands are no longer accustomed
to randomly clicking the Enter bar, and making it
sound as if my words are perfectly divided to suit these confines.
Today, I have made an exception
because your name has too often found its way onto my fingertips-
and I have so little to hold on to yet I find it incredibly difficult
to keep a straight face in your presence.
It's as if I can sense whenever you are near.
I've never believed in signs as much as I do now, and my point is that only now
has it crossed my mind that I have seen you every day this week
and I dread the moment that your face will no longer take a second of this 24 hour cycle.
And when that moment comes,
I will look back to the time when we first met.
I was wearing my old pajama pants, and a tight black t-shirt, and I remember you coming towards me so clearly. You asked me about the kid who had fallen asleep in the back, and I laughed and told you we would never catch the culprit.
I will look back to when your name first popped up on my feed, to the awkward first moments
when I would take 5 minutes between every message I sent to double check whether I sounded as if I did this all the time-
As if I were too preoccupied with my own life to respond right away when in reality my focus had shifted completely to trying to impress you.
I will look back to that first walk outside, my failed attempts at making conversation, but dear god, you made it so easy to ramble on as if my words were waterfalls, and my lungs held the town's reservoir.
I will look back to returning to our empty classroom together.
It looked different than it usually did, with nothing but empty chairs facing the stage-
and when you asked me to dance, I remember how I felt flustered over the way we had just met
And here I was, holding your waist while you rested your hand on my shoulder, and never had I felt as inadequate as I did in that moment.
I do not have much to offer. Yes, she can dance, but I can teach you how to make your fingertips waltz and glide over black and white keys, if only you allow me to hold them once more.
I will look back to the time when you asked me if I loved you,
and I remember avoiding your glance,
I remember hastily fumbling with my fingers, and surprising even myself when my lips curled what should have been a no into a hesitant yes.
I will replay that moment over and over and over again, and tell myself I should have said no.
But my heart knew what my body did not, and honesty hour had come to quickly and left my brain stranded at my doorstep.
I have wasted too much of my time reciting prayers in my head begging you to feel the same way.
But I can feel the end coming a little too fast, and too much time has been burnt out
fantasizing about stories and stolen glances and first dances and funny instruments and random hellos and impromptu sessions with your guitar at the steps next to the tower.
I still don't know why your presence sets off fireworks under my skin, or why your smile has me burying my face beneath strands and strands of hair.
But I do know this-
Next week may be the last time our paths decide to cross, and if that's the case, that's just fine.
I'll see you when I see you.
But for now, thanks for stopping by.
Glances in passing and nothingness,
I'll drop out and take up gardening.
And you are so cool, all German bred,
and sometimes braided. I see you, so
well-read and rather regal. Dirty blonde
nuclear, alabaster, aluminum rods -
electricity dripping from the soles of
your shoes. This classroom, my own
ink blotted incubator, the radiator sits,
flatlining. Your jaw as two razor blades,
your shoulder blades, broad, gentle.
I wonder how you look in the morning,
How you look at yourself in the mirror.
Do you practice smiling, and
how often do you wash your hair? Oh,
you exist in glass, and I will not try to
know you. Leaving this poem limited,
and yet. Your jam drop mouth houses all
well-spoken soliloquies, radical requiems.
So, what would happen if we brushed
shoulders in passing? Your little accent.
Accident, we appeared in the same
huddled mass. Literary plugs in the
drain, and your new American. So,
why don't we just go walking on
airplane wings? Some transcontinental
affair. Frequent flyer fucking, stranger.
Do you remember back in grade eight how we sat next to one another in algebra class?
You'd pester me for answers on everything and I'd help you.
You were always my partner even if we tended to clash.
But once the bell rang you dashed out of my view.
We only existed in the time span of over an hour.
I never told you how it felt to listen to music with you while we graphed slopes
Our classmates complained and still we played it louder.
I never would've imagined that the whole time you had hopes
That we could be together someday , somehow.
Maybe that's why I started to love math so much.
Heard a beeping sound
Followed by A very old Frank Sinatra’s song
My classmates’ heads turned
Who’s phone? who’s phone?
Less chaotic when the teacher glared
Everybody put their heads down
And checked their sophisticated mobile phones
When the teacher wasn’t looking..
Mobile phones roamed in a dull classroom
Updating facebook status,
Uploading candid photos of a snoring friend
Copy pasting assignment
Text messaging and gossiping about their stern looking teacher
In the name of advanced technology
Mobile smartphones create the impossibles...
Beyond the blackboard and the four walls of the classroom
O o Frank Sinatra’s song again...
And everybody started looking...
The teacher grabbed her mobile phone
Tried to switch it off....
When students could own smartphones..
Who needs NOKIA from the old time zone....?
He was the best hide and seek
Player in the
There were whispers
He could beat the 5th and 6th
Nothing was ever lost to him
But time spent
And that was worth it
I hid and
When he found me I told all his classmates that he had stolen my lunch money.