Favorite poem: Giant Saint Everything


August 06, 2005

There were days I wanted out.
But then You would go and do things
like dive into the Vancouver ocean,
big brilliant cliché poem that You are,
water rolling off Your back
as You swam toward a sunset
that hung like a sacred recipe painted
all the way around Your holy head.

And then there were the ways You caught me
moving back into my cave where the wheels turn,
same wheels that drove You off.
I should have told You
before talking in terms of Forever
that any given day wears me out and works me sour,
that there are nights when the sky is so clear
I stand obnoxious underneath it
begging for the stars to shoot at me
just so I can feel at Home.

What’s left of You now is a shrine
built from the pieces I kept of Your presence,
Your incredible stretch of presence.
It sits in Our room like a sandpiper
cross-legged and crying,
remembering the night we met
and the day You left, and the Light
shifting in between.
By the side of it stands a picture of the poem where I promised,
“You will never have another lonely holiday.”

The words “I Promise” and “Forever”
begged me not to use them
but sometimes I don’t listen to God,
so You can imagine how much it hurt
to let Your last birthday pass
with no word. August 3rd.
You weren’t the only one comin’ up lonesome.

Listen, if I had to make a list
of everything everywhere
– and I mean everything… everywhere –
the very last to-do on that infinite list of
every – single – thing – would be – to hurt You,
so I need You to know
that in an attempt to keep my promise
I did write a letter to You on Your birthday.

It was covered in stickers of flock-printed stars,
choir claps, and a bonfire of buttercups stuck in the air,
but when I finally drew enough courage
to send You all the Love in the World
my hand snapped off in the mailbox
from clenching.

It was returned to me with a gospelstitch, a hope stamp
and a note etched into the palm I had to pry open
with the pressure of pitching doves
reminding me
we agreed to let each other go.

There is a point when tears don’t work
to wash things away anymore.
Grabbing for breath has now broken my fingers.
I miss You so much some days
that I beg for the airplane to crash
with just enough time in the freefall
for scribbling “I Love You” across my chest.
That way – when they find my burning breast plate –
they will tell You how the very last thing I did with my life
was call out Your name.

A. R. L.

I know You’re momma didn’t raise no sissy,
so it’s best if I believe
that You’ve bounced back and been born again,
but in the bottom left corner of dreams
in the dark spot
where it gets windy and hollow
I can still see you flailing,
eating knuckle cake,
full torque and tender,
heart pounding from being pulled under,
feet bleeding from bracing for endings,
tongue dying to curse Forever
because promises murder us backwards
when people like me don’t keep them.

And sure, we all deserve absolution,
but especially You. You and Faith,
You’ve got the same hungerpunch,
same song
still rising off the watertrain running through the laws
of a moon dead set on daylight
digging marbles from the trees
in a Love not scared to make no sense
and monkey enough to see
the same devastating reason for living this life
My Giant

I promise You
these words have buckled my lips
so far back to the beginning
that I am now allowed only
so from my snap-chested heart spraying
fully flying
sending out the birds:

Today I stop believing in words.
Today all my visions converted to blurs
like the night We saw the Light
and I could not shut up
but I swear I was feelin’ silence.

— Buddy Wakefield

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