Saturday, March 22, 2008

Earth to Denise

Earth to Denise:

I am sorry that you had to leave so soon.

I am sorry that beauty of who you were to all of us was not enough to convince you to stick around.

I have 61 emails that still remain in the 'sent' file of my email--my responses to emails that you sent, with your originals.

You frequently started your emails to me with "Earth to Lisa" because I was always flying around the world.

Like our long conversations on the phone, or our conversations over drinks at Vesuvio in North Beach, the emails held the things that were important to us and passed them back and forth--the freedom and challenge of becoming 'older women', making a living, men, rants about the state of the world and about the difficulty of finding hairstyles that worked,kindness, love, old North Beach poets, and being a white woman and a black woman in today's America. And poetry. Lots of poetry.

Thank you for holding the things that mattered in our all of our conversations. Thank you for all the hope and inspiration, the wise and kind words you were able to give to others but not yourself. And thank you, most of all--for the ability we shared to laugh our way out of well, almost anything.

I knew we were good friends because we could get really angry with each other and laugh about it later.

And yeah,I let myself have one last argument you when I found out about this. Yelling at you from inside my car driving through the Berkeley streets, a shout from this painful messed up and exquisite earth that keeps us here and teaches us over and over again about letting go until finally just maybe we get it (or not) and then it is our own turn to go...

Like most of us here on planet earth, I am selfish. I wanted you to stick around for
awhile. I wanted us to learn how to be old ladies together, still laughing about 'going out to North Beach and picking up sailors." I wanted
more poems, more evenings at Vesuvio, more delectable meals in which
you complain, again, about how much you love to eat.

But it was not to be. So fly, little bird. Fly home.

I will miss you.


sent June,2007:

> I must be getting really old because I am sitting
> around in the middle of the day with so many
> important chores left undone while I amuse myself
> with these lovely little corny poems.
> And I thought I would share ...
> Denise
> p.s. ...this one must be read out loud, and don't
> worry about people thinking that you're crazy,
> because it's a well established fact by this point
> :- )
> Poem: "Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister
> Pond" by Mary Oliver from Owls and Other Fantasies:
> Poems and Essays. © Beacon Press. Reprinted with
> permission.
> As for life
> I'm humbled,
> I'm without words
> sufficient to say
> how it has been hard as flint,
> and soft as a spring pond
> both of these
> and over and over,
> and long pale afternoons besides,
> and so many mysteries
> beautiful as eggs in a nest,
> still unhatched
> though warm and watched over
> by something I have never seen—
> a tree angel, perhaps,
> or a ghost of holiness.
> Every day I walk out into the world
> to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
> It suffices, it is all comfort—
> along with human love,
> dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
> sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
> flying among the scarlet flowers.
> There is hardly time to think about
> stopping, and lying down at last
> to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
> yet to come, when
> time will brim over the singular pond, and become
> forever,
> and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
> As for death,
> I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
> can you?

sent September, 2006

Around the corner I have a friend,
> In this great city that has no end,
> Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
> And before I know it, a year is gone. And I never
> see my old friends face,
> For life is a swift and terrible race,
> He knows I like him just as well,
> As in the days when I rang his bell.
> And he rang mine but we were younger then,
> And now we are busy, tired men.
> Tired of playing a foolish game,
> Tired of trying to make a name.
> "Tomorrow" I say! "I will call on Jim .
> Just to show that I'm thinking of him."
> But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
> And distance between us grows and grows.
> Around the corner, yet miles away,
> "Here's a telegram sir," "Jim died today .
> And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
> Around the corner, a vanished friend.
> Remember to always say what you mean. If
> you love someone, tell
> them. Don't be afraid to express yourself. Reach out
> and tell someone what
> they mean to you. Because when you decide that it is
> the right time it might
> be too late. Seize the day. Never have regrets.And
> most importantly, stay
> close to your friend s and family, for they have
> helped
> make you the person that you are today !

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