Strange Dead Heroes


Though I never knew you, I love how – in the old photographs – you look up into the camera lens at what always seems to be the perfect time. You look up from the dials of an antique radio, shadows falling from your eyes across your gorgeous hands. Shadows of patience, humor, vitality, stillness. You look up with a face like an open road along which poetry often travels.


I wish I could see how you moved, behaved, truly, outside the claustrophobic borders of photographs and video cameras. You, and all my other strange dead heroes. The subtleties of your way with driving a car, falling asleep, drinking, smoking, making love. Did you eat rice with chopsticks, a fork, or your fingers? Did you storm out, or gently go your way? Did you wipe your feet on the mat or just walk in? Were you irresistibly transcendent, or just plainly human like anyone? Or were you both things at once, and how many others are both things, and how many others could be, if they could only pull it off?


Seeing reflections of others in yourself, you looked up. Sidestepping with the ease of a professional dancer, you looked up. Beauty and pain in your chest, your abdomen, your arms, your spirit, your throat, you looked up. Sitting on a bench like a weather-worn rambler who drifted into the city on a fortunate wind, you looked up, and watched the pretty people, in the park, among the trees, beneath the sky. The big sky that – whether you were inside or outside – stretched above you all the days of your life.   


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