Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Where have all the flowers gone?

Poets Michael D. Meyer (friend of ire'ne, moises, Enrique Cabrera, and lover of la luna) and Ken Hunt (queer-activist poet i knew and worked alongside in Austin in the 1990s) BOTH died (one in Floresville, TX and the other in Chicago) in the same week in late March. Ken was 34, Michael was 25.
And most know that Hunter S. Thompson died, along with Robert Creeley, but then--closer to home--Boyd Vance, a remarkable and tireless artist and actor in Austin, passed away on Saturday, April 9th.

And then Rudolpho "Corky" Gonzalez, seminal leader in the Chicano Movimiento and poet who penned the anthemic "I Am Joaquin" died on Tuesday, April 12th.

What can this mean? One approach I have is that their work is done, but their legacy continues to impact and positively affect. But I am left, I am here to continue the work. La lucha continua, the poems (and essays and stage plays and one-woman shows) must be written. I must do maybe double the work, quicken my pace, increase my production. All in the name of these brothers (and monumental leaders) who have crossed over.

We carry on, struggle on. In the name of Ken, Michael, Boyd, Corky, Hunter, Robert, and all those who have left before them. Honor our past, work for our future. Breathe in the present.

I wrote this recently:

My Soldiers are Gone

my soldiers are gone
the song is done
can anyone hear the heart
who will clean the hearth
set atop it candleflame
and we will incant a name
and another and yet one more
will the next one to exit
please close up the door

my soldiers are gone
and no one to slay
the silence and sorrow of
a day like today
who will set the table
and who can clean the sink
we have one name and one
more and another i thnk
will the ones who left early
tell us how to fill their shoes

my soldiers are gone
and the trumpet sings low
i had so much to share with them
before i let go
now i keep on singing and have some
words still to share, so
i direct them up skyward,
i hasten them there.

for my friends:

ken hunt
michael d. meyer
boyd vance

and for those i knew less:

rudolpho "corky" gonzalez
robert creeley
hunter s. thompson

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