Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Second Gear

Gunny Boy,

A strangeness has evolved. Such a short time has passed...you are still very much real in our hearts and minds but our bodies tell us to move on and cease our mourning.


Today I panicked. I was listening to
that song by A Perfect Circle and I heard your voice behind me. I heard the things you used to say...or were they things I have made up in my head that I really, really need to hear from you right now? I still see men in the hallway. They have your features and my eyes perk up. I actually believe, for a split second, that you might be there. I have actually caught myself asking me, "could he really be alive?" Then I feel humiliated that I would think something so foolish.

We are finally able to laugh at each other, but not at our memories of you. We've become numb. People avoid talking about you. It even makes my friends uncomfortable when I talk about you, despite how much I love remembering you and all that you were. It's as though they feel ashamed to not be able to indulge in your memory, when really all they should feel is joy for me, having been able to experience you and all you were to us. It's so odd to have everybody look at me with their eyebrows pressed together to say, "how've you been doing..." in complete sincere sympathy, but never saying the last part, "with Robert's death and all?" The one thing I long to hear from everyone is a memory of you. The last time you talked to them, Kenny Loggins.


I'm not losing it...re-learning to drive a stick shift in your Cavalier, that weekend at Crater Lake, my depression after Memorial Day 2004 when you held that ice pack over my sunburned forehead, Christmas 2005 and the two "sweaters," shaving Thisbe's butt and how we laughed over that (we had good cause), how little bro lusted after my car, and how you taught me to shake chili out of a can without using a spoon.


I rack my mind for these memories every day. But I also work not to cry. My throat becomes paralyzed almost every time. Sometimes it's difficult to breathe. Sometimes I wonder how it's possible that I've moved forward without you. You made life so much easier and so much harder at the same time.

And so once again,
my dear Johnny, my dear friend,
and so once again you are fighting us all.
And when I ask you why,
you raise your sticks and cry and I fall.

Oh my friend how did you come,
to trade the fiddle for the drum?

You say I have turned
like the enemies you've earned.
But I can remember all the good things you are,
and so I ask you please,
can I help you find the peace and the star?

Oh my friend what time is this,
to trade the hand shake for the fist?

And so once again,
oh America my friend,
and so once again,
you are fighting us all.
And when we ask you why,
you raise your sticks and cry and we fall.

Oh my friend how did you come,
to trade the fiddle for the drum?

You say we have turned,
like the enemies you earned.
But we can remember all the good things you are.
And so we ask you please,
can we help you find the peace and the star?

Oh my friend we have all come,
to fear the beating of your drum.