For Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion
A hundred thousand stars break over the world Someone so forever has gone A hundred thousand tears A hundred thousand medical documents burning A hundred thousand winds bearing away useless smoke but that voice lives It leaps the flames transcends the page
Bad medicine didn't stop it this voice that drew us in brought us face to face language to language He and his beloved centering a wheel with a hundred thousand spokes
We came from all around the globe to you Many threads pulled into one cloth a garment for change but now having organized the bards you are called to align the stars leaving at our centre a beloved space sacred with absence But earth will not be silent one hundred thousand memories will guard will amplify what you have left The shouts that shook Salerno will shout even louder now against the deadlock the gridlocks of injustice How dare death take you so soon How dare grief colonize so many throats wring so many hands Those lungs that took in life and bellowed out poetry that turned air into love how dare they fail you feeding aquifer and ocean with tears that should have been hallelujahs
©2022 Robert Priest
All rights reserved
…is literary poet in the tradition of Neruda and Mayakovsky, a composer of lush love poems, a singer-songwriter, a widely quoted aphorist, a children’s poet and novelist. He is a mainstay of the literary/spoken word/music circuit both in Canada and abroad. His words have been quoted in the Farmer’s Almanac, debated in the Ontario Legislature, sung on Sesame Street, posted in Toronto’s transit system, broadcast on MuchMusic, released on numerous CDs, quoted by politicians, and widely published in textbooks and anthologies.