August 09, 2002

REUNION August 2001 A


REUNION
August 2001

A year ago today, I flew home, like a Lost Boy, to my 35th high school reunion. For those of you old enough to share this experience, and especially for those who have moved far away from the home of your school years, you might appreciate the significance of this event for me...enough to inspire an attempt a poetry, and I should know better.


The cabin pitched left as we banked to avoid
The next in a series of towering moist masses
Of earths warm breath, cloud mountains
Flat topped, I thought like Jack, I could step out
And be in a land above reality, beyond time
Where there are giants, singing harps
And poor boys become rich from magic beans
And never have to grow up.

Belly rushes as the cloud-tops like a floor just below us
Opened in a chasm plunging thirty thousand feet
To checkered patterns in unknown pastures.
The camera takes light, making a digital memory
of images of billows and caves
And I am flying in my heart where
I first saw Peter Wendy and Tinkerbelle
Swoop and dive with arched backs in pure freedom, going home.
It has never left me, and I have never found it
In time we drop below the clouds, to another reality.
Soon I will revisit my roots
A Lost Boy reunited with the past,
an amnesiac stepping out of a time machine.

Somehow we have reappeared, briefly,
from and in various states
with a hope for reunion, back here in our home town,
adult images of our children-selves,
more now like our grandparents.
I survey the crowd
of painfully half-familiar faces in elation and panic.

What do I say to these morphed images of former classmates?
Should I even hint to any of these others
how I have been altered by separate times
since we shared together the British Invasion,
Viet Nam, a dead president, men on the moon?
Why have we come here? What are we hoping to find?

I watch a hundred familiar strangers
seeking some sign in each others eyes
Handshakes back-slaps hugs,
like ants rubbing antennae for the scent of recognition.
the eyes are concealed by missing decades
and we are almost anonymous, and yet
These people somehow belong to me,
random cohorts of time and chance
struggling to bridge
the isolation of ages in brief flash of contact
We share only as much of our selves
as can fit on the back of a business card
It is strangely alien and familiar here
home among friends.

Were we united in those days
by more than the school colors, the fight song?
Can we possibly find here
a re-union or at least an ambiguous truce
between the memories of the child we were
and the realities of the adult we have become?

It cannot be permanence or continuity
we expect to find by coming here.
Nothing is the same.
If buildings or neighborhoods still stand
they are smaller and bleaker
Than our memories of immensity
and brilliance and expectation.

Maybe it is enough, though,
to have revisited the alleys we walked and
To have called each other
by nicknames we have not heard in 30 years
And to know that, once upon a time,
we were made alive and shared together
the ghost of that age,
the spirit of those times that were severly ours
And we are all the same, at least in that way, forever.
I needed to know this, and so I came.

Then my flight away from this past age lifts up
Into the gray fog and drizzle over Alabama,
rising perceptibly as if lifted by a giant hand
through a white featureless opacity
that seems to go on forever and
I wonder who I am, in this nether world
between earth and sky, past and present.

The mist brightens and begins to tatter,
color comes back in imperceptible blues and yellows
Once again, I live in the world of light above the clouds
That exists always, like the past,
beyond and without need of my awareness, and as real
As my ant-like existence down there, all these years,
Under fog that obscures that world from this.

I am high, in Never-never Land,
and am tempted to take more pictures of it, but do not.
I have enough zeros and ones, memories and meaning,
Enough cloud images and illusions
of things solid and firm to know
Both worlds are real,
and I have left and returned to my place in both of them.

Posted by fred1st at August 9, 2002 05:58 PM
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