Thursday, February 14, 2008

A VALENTINE'S DAY MEMOIR: For All the Men I've Loved Before...

ANIBAL, Dancing Salsa
Here it is, VALENTINE'S DAY and I have been thinking of times past, and all the men I've loved before...some of whom have left this earth but will never be forgotten. I was walking up the Drive this morning wondering "Who will be my Valentine today?" and remarkably, I immediately bumped into the next best thing to being my 'real' Valentine -- the one I fantacize most about these days -- that gorgeous Frenchman. Ooh-lah-lah. Well that made my day (so far!)

But, still, the others are much on my mind these days so I thought I'd post a couple of love poems, mainly dedicated to my dear departed friend Anibal who left us so tragically two years ago. "We will be friends til the end of time," you said. And yes, Anibal, we will be. Forever!

(written one night at the Latin Quarter)

A quick-silver spark
like a diamond’s prism
strikes me.
Aphrodite’s silver arrow
turns this cafe bar
into the galaxy.
Reality escapes me.
it hits its mark,
sets aflame
the dark night
of my heart.


In a Bodrum market
I buy striped Turkish slippers
Memories of Istanbul.


I sat at your feet
a disciple at the feet of the Master
I listened to your stories
of shanty towns, poverty
President Allende dying in his bombed-out palace
Victor Jara, the musician/poet,
his hands crushed,
beaten to death in the Stadium
because he sang for the people.
I learned about social injustice
from you.
You taught me well.
Urged by your political passion
I joined marches,
raised my voice with the populace:
Peace, not War!
You captivated me,
I was your willing audience.
Your smile lit up my world
like a blaze of Chilean sun.
I absorbed every story you told.
Hundreds of Chileans died you said,
tortured, beaten,
some dropped from helicopters into the sea.
Thousands disappeared.
You were imprisoned,
Ran for your life across the mountains
into Argentina
disguised as a priest.
Over glasses of Chilean wine
red as blood
you told how you had to flee again,
this time on a plane bound for Canada.
I shared your anguish
though I could never truly experience your pain.
Exiled, torn from your roots
like a tree blown down in a fierce storm.
this stormy life of yours
enveloped me,
I was swept into the vortex of your melancholy,
submerged under the waves of your nostalgia,
drowned in the sea of your despair.


In the arbour
under a tangle of vines
the artist wields his brush.
Strokes the canvas lightly
spreading colours: pink and lavender and yellow.
Flower petals take shape.
A garden is revealed.
I remember the touch of your fingers
on my arm,
soft as a brush stroke
awakening a garden in my heart.


Let the words flow
Let them pour forth
eroding the stones
of my desolatenesses.
Let them cascade
like tears
and flow
forming pools where
water lilies bloom
and dragon flies dance
in the sunshine
of my inspiration.

Written August 2005 in Van Duesen Gardens when he was in Palliative Care.
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