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My Poem for Oscar

A friend of mine sent me this poem via Facebook the other day. It is something I wrote when I was living in Korea - something about another friend who inspired me at the time, touching something in me that needed to be acknowledged.

And it made me think. About a lot of things. About the past, the present, and the contrast I see between those realities, those worlds, and the person I am in each of them.

Time is a tricky thing. It molds and melds things together, breaks them apart, and alters our perspectives on everything. And memory, our vehicle for maneuvering through this dimension, is untrustworthy. It paints pictures based on who we are now and what we now think, recreating events when we aren't even aware of it.

Nonetheless, as fallible as it may be, it offers us something. A chance to reflect. I am "remembering" a moment in a bar, in Korea, a decade ago, sitting across from a person who I've lost what you could consider "contact" with (aside from "liking" random posts about film and art he so impressively adds to his Facebook page now and then), who at one time changed, in his own way, the palette I used to view the world. I miss him, like I miss the smells of the streets in Ubud, and the feel of soft sand under my toes in Australia, and the rush of adrenaline on the pitch during gaelic football, and the taste of cheese donkkaseu at 4'oclock am in Itaewon. And I miss him like a human being I once felt deeply for, like all the people I have, for that individual he was that has, no doubt, evolved immeasurably.

And I miss that person I was, too, sitting across that table. But she is there in my memory. And if she isn't, I'll paint her again, and probably add a little color, and reminisce. And then use it to appreciate what's right in front of me now.


Oscar, this one is/was for you:


I watch him, across the table,

waxing poetic distress and


pouring pieces of himself into

a glass of wine, that sits

unfinished next to his hand.


And I can’t help but remember


my fear of never having walls,

of falling out

all over the place, making

messes wherever I go, always

leaving a trace; wanting so badly to be

that person,

that calm collected presence

on the other side

of the table -


on the other side of my glance,

that is holding it in and

holding it up, and gracefully


a solitary waltz, while others

step on toes

and blush.


He’s got it, though. That delicate balance

between emotional anarchy and regal exhilaration,

that only comes

with the knowledge of being

a dedicated and committed romantic,

regardless of circumstance.


And here I sit, a mirror of my own intent,

calm and collected,

dancing naked on the fault line,

shrouded in my slight,

my rebuff of my own aching heart, tucked neatly

in a thick hedge

that elegantly lines your lawn,

not knowing if this time the sides will part and

open up an eruption

of molten core or,


maybe this time

we will collide, and build mountains

of dissident rebellion.

And then the earth moves,

and all of it


is real.

What We Are Designed to Do

A True Family Man