Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Getting Down to Essence

for Richard, on his 79th Birthday
“Getting down to essence” is a topic you have
taught me lessons in, an intricate curriculum
qui tournaient toutes les pages de ma vie
quotidienne or so in French I think as we sit
in Le Pain Quotidien, lessons I’m quite sure that
you’ve no inkling you have given me: lessons
that have riven me into more pieces than it
would be provident to count: extremities I can’t
surmount of self and being that you now see
splayed across this screen, seen in the scene
of that café – you on your iPhone to Toru, me
a scribbled tone poem, silly rhyme and rhythm,
riding schisms that obtain between our old
endearing brains, a landscape of two bumber-
shoots – erroneous, felonious – harmoniously
blabbing, acting, dreaming, fearing, mourning,
loving, laughing until we can’t breathe, with no
defense against the seethings of complexity
that somehow, now, seem less to vex me
than to leaven me, voici, ici au Pain Quotidien:
as on tap with Essence as our Boycat or
our Girlcat, and as pretty and as witty and as fat
as Kitty – all of us in the enlarging lap of all
the days and years that were our daily bread.
To learn to get down to an essence will instruct
us how to get ahead: a process of exfoliation,
dropping all the mishegoss, stopping all the folderol,
throwing out the hems and haws so we might
finally inhale far less impeded air: a time now
to release – rewrite the laws! Blessed because
we’ve wisely taken care to see there’s less
we need to think about. But all the lessons you
have taught me teach there is no less, there’s
only more. Life is Life Galore! Essence only knows
abandon. Essence never lessens, it expands.
I’ve felt that from your heart, seen it in your hands.

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