someone I know once threw me
a small bag of weed
as I stood in a hotel elevator
cops on vacation.
I’ve been to some
while on the Journey.
I stared down
from an unsafe distance
in Piazza San Marco
rioted for lower tuition.
I’ve been close
to the fur-gloved hands
of Fate often enough.
Sat at a university president’s desk
during an occupation of
the administration building
in Amherst. Was in the rush of bodies
that broke the glass doors when we
stormed it. Was one of the last ones
to leave next day at sunrise,
weary and jubilant all the way
back to the dorm; cannot for the life of me
recall why we were there.
I have forgotten more of my life
than I have lived, I think. Forgotten,
I think, how close to the front lines
I’ve come without ever engaging,
how clueless I have sometimes been
about the breath of history and disaster
on my neck.
I watched the Towers fall from less
than two hundred miles away and watched
friends die on television as they fell
and sat in an empty office for hours after
breaking the news by phone to other friends,
some of whom could see the smoke
from their rooftops, some of whom
were thanking their stars
for the blessing of escape
until they heard from me.
I have been the Angel Of Death,
posting open letters to the dimming light
in beloved eyes,
all in the name of holding on
to whatever I could
when so much else