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Tonight I heard from a student I feared dead. This student graduated from our program a couple of years ago and has relapsed, o’d several times, died once for four minutes and came back, got arrested once or thrice, and is now in another rehab on a different coast because he “doesn’t have any dealers out here”. The talk therapy sometimes isn’t enough for our hardcore drug kids, and that’s a fact we just have to deal with. It bruises some of us, a bit. This kid calls HP and I “Ma and Pa”, and keeps in regular contact no matter what condition he is in. He is lovely, and fragile, and alive. I didn’t know if he was or was not for awhile, so I’m writing from a place of profound relief. Despite our attempts at preparing ourselves for the worst, expecting it, even, it will scar if this one doesn’t make it. Hope is a hard thing to maintain. Hats off to anyone to whom it comes easily.

Tonight, I poem for JC.

The Spinning World

How you start off thinking about heteroglossia, about Columbine and columbines, about how the words get layered like leaves as the world spins, all our sorrows and arabesques, the immense foldedness of things, the always ever folding, and end up thinking about how the trees grow from the top but also out, the new growth on the old branches is softer and unprotected. How the moon isn’t even a light year away, it’s a fracture of a fraction of that far, you don’t have to shoot it to get there. How addicts prefer the world spinning, like it is supposed to, like we are told that it spins, How his promise is a planet engulfed in a dust ring, how he died and then joked about the narco shot, how he calls you at three in the morning, how he calls you mom and dad, how today he is still alive, how maybe we can take our hats off to the hopeful, how you tell him it takes more guts to start again than to give up like you know what that means, how you tell him to resume the study of the music that sets the world spinning under his feet the way he wants it to, how maybe he is lucky in the way animals are lucky when their tails are torn off and they can still swim, how cats are lucky in the eighth life, how maybe he will live and visit,

how we can sing down the sun, like birds do.


Here’s a song that reminds me of him: 

Happy Thursday, people of the poem.