No Elegy for Jasper
There will be no words,
no tributes, sonnets or verses of consolation,
borrowed from the great poets or philosophers
for an angel called up too soon.
Only the cries of infinite mourning rambles will reach the heavens.
There are no words,
no comprehension, no rationale, and no acceptance,
for a not quite two years old, randomly gunned down,
caught in cross-fire while napping in his car seat on I-880,
on an ordinary Saturday afternoon. An adorable laughing sprite.
Was he on his way to Target, or Fairyland, or just headed home?
He had worn a Superman outfit for Halloween.
If only his mother had been in a different lane,
would the angel of death still have found him?
Who knows whom he could have been, what he might have given
to our fractured world, whom he would have loved...?
There are no words,
when a little coffin is lowered into unrepentant earth.
Yes, a go fund me set up, empty pleas for more gun control, police presence,
cameras on freeways, ten thousand dollars offered for information............
as if...as if.
There are no words.
There never will be words for Jasper,
only raging rivers of inconsolable
A Day at the Wharf
The sea lions at Pier 39, raucous, splashing, lumber on and off wooden platforms.
Their irreverent show provides cheap entertainment for tourists who watch
while enjoying their crab cocktails, hunks of sourdough, Ghirardelli chocolate.
I always stop to see them when I am in San Francisco.
Their smell, stinky and particular, suffuses me with memories
of another August day, I can never forget.
We had just come from the breast cancer center, where my young balding oncologist
had rather nonchalantly told me and my husband the results of my PET scan,
after a tearful weekend of not sleeping or eating,
clinging to each other like we were drowning.
My breast cancer had thankfully, blessedly not spread.
I felt like I had won the lottery. We couldn’t go home,
headed to the wharf with our worst fears behind us for a few minutes,
though I really didn’t know what was still ahead,
months of chemo and radiation.
In warm sun, the frisky sea lions performed
playful as if heralding my good news, jumping out of the water
with their irreverent barking and slapstick antics.
Then we stopped to listen to a street musician performing my favorite Motown.
I danced to a Temptations song like a teenager
not caring how I looked to passersby, a sixtyish woman dancing solo.
I was given hope that summer’s day by that young doctor, a battle plan.
I could climb down from that precipice where I had been hovering for days.
Even now, eight years later, the sea lions take me back,
reminding me how fragile life is,
reminding me that a 3-millimeter lump turned my world on its head,
reminding me to never forget that every day is a gift.
The Giraffe Mural on Harrison St.
from the freeway underpass on Harrison
a solitary giraffe watches...
mottled cream and brown
elegant, noble, imperious
a homeless enclave sprawls unchecked
at its feet,
clutter of shopping carts, scattered clothing
a few coveted possessions, mounds of refuse
a haphazard village of last resort
ragged tents strewn across a sorry landscape
of sorrows and broken dreams,
souls discarded like so much flotsam and jetsam
drifting in a sea of have nots and never will
the giraffe would surely look away if it could
like the rest of us who pass by everyday
shake our heads and pretend we don’t see
instead it weeps