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Kevin Hull

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AS IF
by Kevin Hull

Sunday, September 25, 2011
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Kevin Hull
•  An Old Man's Enlightenment
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           >> View all 88

This was written in a single sitting upon the death of my dear friend, LeDan, an Iranian woman who had contracted ALS 18 months earlier -- the disease quickly rising upwards with its paralysis until her spirit rose upwards and out. I miss her, though I know she is in the only right place she can be: in the center of her own destiny.

I am writing, as if she were gone.
As if she could die to us.

Either we are real or we are lost,
no matter how long we reside here,
or how briefly we grace the dream.
In any case, we are transients, all.

One day the story concludes.
No happy ending, I suspect, nor sad:
for us there must be something unknown
and unknowable, beyond the naming.

Who are we then,
if not the essence of the other?
One life, many dreams.
To what do we identify? To whom?

We wanted to solve the problem of life,
and to love . . . To practice truth.

I was her asaw, her cane, she joked,
teaching me a little Farsi, as we laughed, navigating the flagstones.

I wish she had waited.
I wanted to sit with her again,
meditating, hand in hand, beside
her wheelchair. She said it was
like rising in an elevator, and I knew
she would be all right . . .
Her soul was ready, her soul was ready . . .

As if we are not our souls.
As if we have identified with
something else. As if there were
something else.

In the end nothing mattered.
We were left bereft, foolish with
our torn maps to eternity,
our knowledge and our searching.

One must study life directly.
Inside the dzrkness, one's own darkness, one must have the determination to find the light,
one's own light.
Thus one is qualified to himself,
to speak to himself and of himself,
and if anyone is interested -- to another.

But this cannot qualify another.
And so I say her face, gracious and kind in the face of crushing fate,
taught me more about courage and human
nobility than all the scriptures
of the world.

Gradually disfigured by the
creeping paralysis, her eyes did not
change, and shone with grace and beauty.

This was her world.
She inhabited this world more than I.
She was everyone's friend
while I remained an outcast.
She had her sense of earth,
while I was a gypsy.

Near the end, she sat in her immobility, a silent teacher,
teaching the secret of surrender.

I suggested she fly to infinity.
She simply smiled, forever gracious.

I would lift her into bed,
arrange the pillows, and gather her
necessary items -- the plastic water bottle, her notepad and pen, her telephone . . . And I would tiptoe
back to my walking world,
leaving her alone in the darkness.

It happened that she would slip
into a position of discomfort
and, unwilling to wake me at 3 a.m.,
suffer the night without sleep,
saturated in tears of helplessnes.

What is the crystal of consciousness?
The flower of a person, and the seeking? Simple children's dreams . . .

There are just so many green afternoons hanging pictures in her new condo . . . There, and -- there.
Everything an art. To be at home --
at last.

And the storm comes wrecking our makeshift worlds, birthing philosophy from the bowels of dubious fate.
Give unto God! Yes, and do not love
too intensely!

Touch lightly like one who is not
really sure of existence, and be gone.
No more need for these decorative lies.
The lies we tell each other;
the lies we tell ourselves --

that we are living the life that can't
be lived; thst are doing what can not
be done.

I know my words are as ineffectual
as those of the doctors who sent her
home to die. But God, they say,
is listening. . .I want Him to listen!

This, too, after all. is His voice.
Or no voice at all.

What have I learned by loss?
What have I learned?

You have broken my heart, Father.
For no one else could help.
No one else could hear.

You put poetry in me like pills of pain I could not swallow.

I spit out this music and leave
it behind. . . A placebo
to satisfy the ignorance?
No, not even that.

But I have seen something in this Life;
how one thing consumes another's gift
and thereby releases that other
of a burden . . . the burden of the Gift! Maybe we too will be released
from all that is pressing us to be
who we are and who we are not.

One day - perhaps - the mystery
will release us from the burden
of the Gift -- this homelessness --

and we will achieve a freedom
beyond naming.

My dear Friend.

2000

the purpose of art is to awaken
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Reviewed by John Flanagan 9/25/2011
Tender and thoughtful, Kevin,
rich in the right telling detail,
delivered with love and deep spirituality.

John



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