It's been almost 6 months now, and I never really feel like this poem is finished, so I'll publish now, anyway, in memoriam. In honor of the feast day of Saint Anthony on June 13, patron saint of lost things & pets....preghiamo.
"For my San Antonio"
The loneliest thing that could happen to you is to lose your puppy dog.
That, and your own death, I suppose.
I suppose it's necessary.
I suppose it's supposed to feel like this.
But this is scary, and dark, and the
Isolation seems to swallow me from all angles.
It seems to me Grief is like this.
I want to tell you a story -
I'm 7 years old,
And I'm crying on the back patio
About being misunderstood
And I can only tell Pandora who won't laugh or disappear.
But Pandora's dead and gone,
And I get a new puppy dog to replace,
Now, almost 20 years later.
And it's been a long time with bottled up secrets, lies, feelings, love,
Wishes, dreams, hopes, fears,
And no puppy dog worth confiding to in sight.
It's called Healing because it's like this.
Slow. Painful. Patching & Re-bleeding.
Building up protective tissue only to have it torn away in a single swoop.
Starting over from scratch sometimes.
Remembering not to pick at the same wound, but
Failing, and then
For the Healing to begin again tomorrow.
And now it's like this:
I still feel the wind and the warmth, and can see the
Through the trees
As it makes dancing shadows & silhouettes.
The puppy dog runs through fields of mint and sage,
Rushing uncontrollably through fresh breath & knowledge,
Until he comes so close you can whisper secrets in his ear.
And he's so happy and pure...How could you tell him it's like this?
I've told him about the fall;
I used to teach him about the winter.
I mentioned once that things die, that for now the plants are hiding ----
I told him that even though it doesn't look like it,
Life will return.
Spring will come.
There's no reason to be afraid.
And the crows seem to know.
And the weepy trees in Oregon seem to know.
And the other dogs seem to know.
(I know it's silly - but won't you let me believe it for just a little while?)
I swear, they stare at me
With their Loving, Innocent eyes,
And it's as if Tony's staring right into my soul again.
It's like there's only one Dog Spirit,
And Doggy Life emanates from and
Returns to that One Source.
I supppose Life is like this.
And I finally understand what it means to look around the room at
It means you have to jump from your own
Lonely perspective, and imagine
What the world would look like to you if you had been handed
That set of circumstances.
Or if you had grown up with
If the Source had manifested you as a
Little more insecure or a
Little less judgemental, or with
That set of fears, or
Those sisters, or
That tail, or
Those particular beliefs.
Or if you had grown up
In Indiana, for God's sake.
Or if you always had to look out at the world from over that mustache.
It can't be easy.
Or how difficult it would be if you always saw everything, watched everyone,
Or thought you did.
That wouldn't be easy either.
Owned that quirk, Used this quip, Met this sweetheart, Believed that myth.
You can begin to see how the same world could look so very different.
If you had never seen it all before.
You begin to really, really understand what the world might look like
If you were
And it's the Same, the Same
All perfect & incompete manifestations of the Whole.
And Great Compassion for those other journeys ----
None of the paths are easy.
And Compassion for your own,
As you realize you are just
An also imperfect, complete version
Part of a Matrix
a Leaf on the Tree,
as Unique and Identical as all the other leaves.
And so you have to wonder ----
How can it be possible to Be This Lonely
Around so many other Leaves.
But it is.
It is like this:
It's like fumbling around in the dark with a cord,
Searching desperately for the plug in the wall.
You know, as soon as you find it, as soon as you can
It will all be over.
The darkness will seem so silly,
Be just a memory, a shadow.
But until you connect it all,
Until you can get back to the Source, it's all
In a black hole
There is no light
There will never be light again
What if the plug doesn't work or the cord gets tangled or
You for whatever reason are incapable of making the connection?
And it's Scary.
And it's Real.
And there are flickers and candles of Hope
But you have to look carefully,
Or you'll lose them
You'll lose it all.
Your whole grip
Everything, all over again, from the beginning. Begin again.
And again, and again, and again and again and again......
Do butterflies ever feel grief?
They come and go so quickly,
I imagine it must be impossible to get a sense of
Possibilities that will never come to be realized
When you live as short as a butterfly.
And it's very hard to be one of the animals on the planet who outlives so many other animals.
Maybe I will have many dogs.
Maybe I will know Love many times.
But they say it's never like the first.
How can a dog make you a better human being?
I don't know - but it does.
To love a dog,
To see the world through his eyes,
With all the fear and wonder
And curiosity and First-time-ness of it all.....
I tried to give him a sense of the big picture of it all.
To help him out, more than I could for a butterfly.
Wishing someone bigger than me would explain it all to me, in the same way.
That sometimes life is like this.
That the pain comes and goes, that
Life comes and goes,
That dogs come and go.
Pandora will never meet Tony and
I will never meet my great-great-grandmother or great-great-grandson
And I suppose that's all Ok.
I suppose the point is
In some form.
The butterflies don't have to meet each other because
The spirit of the butterfly continues.
I don't know really,
Honestly I'm just trying to work something out.
Some desperate rationalization to make it all Ok.
But if I could have ben there ----
If I could have been by that cold metal table, with all the
Incomprehensible doctors and
Helpless machines all around ---
I would have whispered these words of comfort to Tony.
Wishing someone would whisper them to me.
Will you whisper them to me now?
Please, let me pretend, let me believe, just for a little while?
Repeat after me.
Sometimes life is like this.
And it's going to be ok.
And you can go home now to that
Big mint field in the sky.
And I'll meet you there.
I'm so lucky to have known you at all."
E ci vediamo presto presto, sì sì tesoro mio?
Lo so, che pazzo...
Ma la vita, lei è come questa.
Ti amo ti amo ti amo, per sempre.