I lost someone close to me last week. One of my parents, to tell you the truth. And while they weren’t exactly a birth parent, they practically raised me.
Some of my earliest memories are of escaping my childhood home through the back window, down the juniper tree, up Sir Gillingham Street, and to their bunker, feeling free. Of course, it wasn’t a bunker. Just a home. But a safe haven for a kid like me.
They opened themselves up to me every step of my journey. The mystical sage I needed, my Obi Wan Kenobi, my Kakashi, my Onizuka, my Uncle Iroh. A true Roshi on the Bodhisattva path who cultivated in me a life of poetry, a deep curiosity, and yet a stubborn bastard at times, swept up in riddles and emotional koans.
A being of many contradictions. Containing multitudes, as they say.
When I heard he died I felt a piece of me break away and I haven’t been able to talk about it until just today. Here with you. And I need someone to talk to. I’m honored with a position as pallbearer, and have drafted the following to recite graveside: (mind you this remains unedited)
We gather here today to honor a life One that was full of adventure and strife A wandering poet, stubborn and free Like a fusion of Laotzi, Walt Whitman, and loyalty
He roamed the earth, seeking inspiration From the highest mountains to the deepest oceans He wrote of love, of pain, of life and death And with every word, he took another breath
He was a man of many contradictions A lover of solitude, yet a friend to many relations He cherished his freedom, yet stayed true to his faith A paradoxical soul, in every way
Like Laotzi, he sought wisdom in simplicity Finding beauty in the smallest things, so humbly He embraced the Tao, and lived in harmony With the universe, in perfect symmetry
And like Walt Whitman, he celebrated life Its joys and sorrows, its triumphs and strife He sang of the human spirit, so resilient Of the beauty of diversity, so brilliant
But most of all, he was stubbornly faithful To his dreams, his words, his beliefs so graceful He never gave up, he never lost hope Even when the world seemed like a slippery slope
And so we bid farewell to this wandering poet Whose life was a testament, a life to be noted He contained multitudes, like Walt Whitman said A soul so complex, we can never truly comprehend
Rest in peace, dear, your words will live on In the hearts of those who knew you, and those who’ve come along You’ve left a legacy, a poetic testament To a life well-lived, and a spirit so resplendentThank you, Bumi
It’s time for a little release. I’m returning to my homelands next weekend and taking a brief trip to San Antonio, Texas before hand. If anyone out there would like to meet for a drink, some games, or poetry, let me know. Otherwise I’m looking for recommendations on where to eat, and what to see. San Antonio remains of my favorite American cities, but I haven’t returned in a handful of years.
I wish all of you well and hope this season finds you in a positive space.
I’ll never forget his insistence of reading the ancients, and then timelessness remains with me. Thank you, friend
“Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
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