Sunday, June 24, 2012

In the strawberry patch with Luciana

Photo by Erica Kerwien

Luciana met Gerard on the Internet and he came to collect her and bring her back to his country, to be his wife.  She was the saddest person I had ever met.  When she arrived she discovered he had cancer, something he had neglected to tell her, and she spent the first year, while he was in the hospital, and afterwards, taking care of him.  He recovered but because he could not work she became the sole "breadwinner", picking blueberries in the fields under a hot sun, working in downtown restaurant kitchens or cooking and housecleaning for other people.  She cried often, was homesick, for her son, family, friends and house back in her country.  She had an opportunity, when they visited there some time ago, to simply stay and not return with the new husband she claimed to be unhappy with.  And yet she did, return, and slip back into the same routine.

I ran into her the other day, biking back from the community garden.  I had not seen her in a year.  Once a vibrant, attractive, laughing spirit, she seemed a shell of her former self.  She'd lost a lot of weight, had all her teeth replaced, looked years older. I almost didn't recognize her.  She gave me a tour of her garden at the back of their apartment, gave me a container full of fresh strawberries, told me about her new job, which she liked, because it was easy and got her away from the house.  We were to meet the following morning for coffee but when I arrived at her door at the agreed-upon time, she was not there.  Gerard, lying on a couch watching TV (who didn't bother to get up to come to the door), called out through the screen door that she'd gone somewhere - that she'd had "something to do" and couldn't join me.

This was typical - we'd make plans, she and I, only to find out it was not, apparently, convenient for Gerard.  Or maybe she just changed her mind, or forgot.  That, too, was typical.   Enthusiastic at the prospect of time to chat with new friends, when you'd show up, Luciana would be nowhere to be found.    A mutual friend, concerned about Luciana's situation ("she's become a slave") finally concluded:  "She had an opportunity to leave.  She did not take it.  She's made her choice."

But perhaps it's not so simple as that.  I know many people in life-crushing situations who want to "get out" or "get away, start over"  but because of finances (lack thereof),  pressing commitments, or just plain fear, they stick with what they know, rather than do whatever it takes to take a desired, but essentially unpredictable leap into the unknown.  That, I think, is what's happening with Luciana.   (She did say that things had changed in her country since she'd last been there.  She wasn't sure, even if it were possible, that she could now go back--certainly the life she'd known when she had left, was no longer possible.)

Torn between two worlds--the former, a place you no longer feel you belong to; and the present: a place you've been transplanted to but don't particularly feel "at home" in.  Reminds me of some of the characters in Erich Maria Remarque's novels.

And it could happen that you never leave a place (or situation), spend your whole life dreaming of an "other" life you never manage to access or create.

I thought of this today (Luciana, etc.) after reading Caio Fern's essay this morning on his blog.  He had me at "I love winter ... God!!! I love winter."  ha ha.  How many people do you find (who don't ski) who say they LOVE winter!.  He equates the feeling winter inspires in him with being able to breathe, with "being alive."  Exactly how I feel.

 I was thinking about that just yesterday, at the close of a brutal, three-day heat wave, 83 F degrees at 6 a.m., 79% humidity, no relief, the temperature climbing even higher by evening, along with an arrival of mosquitoes.  We have no air conditioning (by choice--the truly unbearable heatwaves are infrequent, and two fans help), and though I love all the things summer represents for me:  fresh veggies from the garden, fast-drying clothes on the clothesline, SWIMMING!, early morning or late evening bike rides through quiet, unpeopled streets with the wind blowing gently against you--by the end of August I am more than ready for Autumn, for that first welcoming hint of 'chill'.  I can only take so much of hot, direct, blazing sun, till I start getting dizzy, or turn into a complete vegetable, unable to think, much less move.  I only truly come alive, so to speak, in winter.  Not just physically but creatively as well.

Caio's essay is worth reading for the comments he makes on creative art-making (in this case, painting--but it could apply to writing as well).  So much of it resonated, I found myself nodding my head. 

But painting is tough and makes you tougher. What in life can scare a painter? What can the art world do with a painter that will make him/her give up? Nothing. Real painters are so used to try hard and never give up that there is absolute any evil this world can offer strong enough to make us stop. One single painter, with all its wide opened fragility and solitude is stronger than the entire world together. Don't you see it? The world with all its cruelty and long time can't stop a painter, we always carry on with our burdens and think it is glorious. 

Exactly the way I feel about writing.  Caio thanks God for

all the time you allowed me to dedicate for painting . . . for talent . . . for being able to get art supplies when I didn't have money for food . . . for the inspiration . . . for not making me a mediocre bastard that follows trends and kiss art world people's ass. Thank you for have called me."  

Oddly, I was in that position recently as well, doing some silent thanking of my own, but to the universe, for sending my way not only the hardships which turned my life around, made me wake up, so to speak, but for the gift of appreciating creativity (the 'beyond the mediocre'), finding parallels, seeing the power of metaphors, being drawn ("invited"?), from the age of seven onwards, into the world of words, that can be played, like notes on a piano keyboard, to bring out the melodies assembling in my head.  Or something like that.  A peculiar way to put it, I suppose.  (The word machine needs recharged perhaps.)

A delightful Sunday morning, Quebec's national holiday today, St. Jean-Baptiste Day, the fleur de lys flags flying everywhere.  A neighbor's voice sails through an open door singing along to some radio tune; "Guy" the red-brown dog in the back near the woods, barking at some cat; the sky a brilliant blue.  What better than a breakfast of yogurt & fresh strawberries from Luciana's garden?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The power of one

FIVE MILLION Brazilian Farmers have sued biotech giant Monsanto

NEW DELHI: Five million Brazilian farmers have taken on US based biotech company Monsanto  through a lawsuit demanding return of about 6.2 billion euros taken as royalties from them. The farmers are claiming that the powerful company has unfairly extracted these royalties from poor farmers because they were using seeds produced from crops grown from Monsanto's genetically engineered seeds, reports Merco Press.

In April this year, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, ruled in favor of the farmers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion. The ruling said that the business practices of seed multinational Monsanto violate the rules of the Brazilian Cultivars Act (No. 9.456/97). Monsanto has appealed against the order and a federal court ruling on the case is now expected by 2014.

Read more here.

So ... the judge tells Monsanto, "You violated the rules.  You have to pay."

Monsanto immediately protests.
"We'd like to appeal," they say.

Which gives the judge the opportunity to re-think the original judgment and possibly change his or her mind, right?.

This constitutes, in effect, a postponement for defendant Monsanto, whereby it's determined that:

 "a ruling on the case is expected by 2014."  


They don't say when in 2014.

(Why does it take at the minimum  a year and a half to rule on an appeal?  That judge must have some busy schedule!)

Meanwhile, as one commenter wryly notes, this lengthy postponement provides more than enough "time for Monsanto to bribe some of the persons involved in the ruling and get off scot-free."  Wouldn't be the first time an entity escaped accountability for gross misconduct.

The numbers are interesting, though.

Five million farmers.
One corporation.
One judge.

Except the power hierarchy is wrong here.  Let's reshuffle that a bit to reflect reality:

Odds are, if prevailing opinion is any measure [Monsanto is considered by more than a few to be the "most evil corporation on the planet"], it'd come out:

1 + 1
 - 5,000,000
 = 1

where the final winner is one of the 1's":
                                       (you guessed it:)      Monsanto.

The power of one.
The powerlessness of millions


Then there's this:

"In what has been called the single largest wave of recorded suicides in human history, Indian farmers are now killing themselves in record numbers. It has been extensively reported, even in mainstream news, but nothing has been done about the issue. The cause? Monsanto’s cost-inflated and ineffective seeds have been driving farmers to suicide, and is considered to be one of the largest — if not the largest — cause of the quarter of a million farmer suicides over the past 16 years.

"According to the most recent (provided by the New York University School of Law), 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 — about one death every 30 minutes. In 2008, the Daily Mail labeled the continual and disturbing suicide spree as ‘The GM (genetically modified) Genocide’. Due to failing harvests and inflated prices that bankrupt the poor farmers, struggling Indian farmers began to kill themselves. Oftentimes, they would commit the act by drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto supplied them with — a gruesome testament to the extent in which Monsanto has wrecked the lives of independent and traditional farmers.

"To further add backing to the tragedy, the rate of Indian farmer suicides massively increased since the introduction of Monsanto’s Bt cotton in 2002."   [Source]


Five million angry farmers in Brazil, millions of farmers in India suiciding themselves on account of Monsanto - that's a lot of farmers. 

Whatever side of the fence you're on regarding GMOs, doesn't it seem a tad unbalanced --  that one corporation should have this much power to ruin so many farmers' lives and livelihoods?

The year 2014 is a long way away.  A lot could happen between now and then.

Meanwhile, Monsanto is off the hook, so to speak, for having to cough up at least $2 billion to pay those farmers, as ordered by the judge.  What a cut into this year's profit that would entail.  Meanwhile there are other farmers, other countries, to market those GMO seeds to.  Life goes on.  (For some.)

Farmers suiciding themselves.  Reminded me of those monks in Tibet.  People with hope for the future don't suicide themselves. 

Inform yourself.

Don't have time to watch the video?

Read Wikipedia's entry on the history, practices, complaints and concerns about Monsanto,
and judge for yourself.

(Just for the heck of it, google the words "evil" and "Monsanto" and see what comes up.)

(Jeffrey Hollender, a  leading authority on corporate responsibility, sustainability and social equity, curious about the application of the word "evil", by so many people, to this single corporation,  decided to investigate.  While he hesitated to join the others in calling Monsanto "evil", he did conclude that in his opinion, Monsanto certainly qualified as a candidate for his list of the World's 10 Worst Companies.) [1]

You mean for activities such as this?:

"Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay"
"As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the 'seed police' and use words such as 'Gestapo' and 'Mafia' to describe their tactics" Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear.

Whatever its reputation and practices, I'm more interested here in Monsanto as an example of greed gone global, whose octopus-like spread covers the globe, and whose products, supposed to "help" farmers, often in fact does quite the opposite.  How did that one company get to be so dominant?

For one, they spend a lot on lobbying; plus it helps to have friends in high places.  (Monsanto spent $8,831,120 million in 2008 lobbying the federal government; a whopping $2 million in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone) pleading for less regulations and more fast-tracking of approval for its GMO products. It is perhaps fortunate that Monsanto has friends in  strategic positions, e.g., Clarence Thomas (current U.S. Supreme Court Justice), Michael F. Taylor (senior advisor to the FDA on food safety); Dr. Michael A. Friedman (former Deputy Commissioner of the FDA); Linda J. Fisher (Deputy Administrator of the EPA); and Donald Rumsfeld (former Secretary of Defense), all have or had work connections with Monsanto.) [2], [3], [4]. 

And these:

This is  not just about desperate farmers, unhappy consumers, corporate lobbying or government corruption.  It's about a lack of  choice.  It's about an attempt to monopolize the  world's food supply.  It's about Control ... of the very many, by a select few.  

Awhile back the media was all over the Occupy Wall Street movement, whereby representatives of "the 99 percent" attempted to confront the 1 percent with the unfairness of the equation.  They were promptly ridiculed, arrested and/or marginalized.   So much for the Power of the People, to effect lasting change.

Change takes time.  The above equation could change. Perhaps sooner rather than later.  Five million rising up to demand accountability today, an entire country tomorrow.  All it takes is to keep saying No.  No to the bullying.
      No to the monopoly.
             No to the control. 

~ ~ UPDATE ~ ~

June 21, 2012
Biotech giants Monsanto were awarded a victory by lawmakers in Washington this week after a congressional panel voted to let farmers plant genetically modified crops made by the agriculture company despite pending legal proceedings.

Although the USDA has previously authorized Monsanto-created biocrops to be planted, an array of legal appeals have left the major agriculture company combating with opponents as of late. Questions over the safety of the lab-made crops on human health and the environment, as well as opposition from small time farmers constantly being fought by Monsanto, has slowed the federal agency from fully approving some crops. Now after the latest vote, Monsanto and its competitors will be able to offer seeds even as the Justice Department determines the legitimacy of the appeals.

Monsanto has garnered their fair share of opponents as of late, a result that many will argue comes from the company’s heated stance against small-time farmers. The corporation has threatened lesser farms with hundreds of lawsuits for using genetically modified crops patented by Monsanto that have been carried onto their farms by wind and other elements of nature. Recently, the corporation threatened to sue the entire state of Vermont because lawmakers there were considering a bill that would force manufacturers to label products that are created either partially or in full from a GMO.

'Bolded' segment #1 =  and the winner is:  MONSANTO!!!

'Bolded' segment #2 =   how is this not "bullying"?    (as in "Don't you DARE legislate on this!").

The power of one.

I rest my case.

This blog is a Free Speech Zone.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Annual Exposition of the Antique Car Club of Trois-Rivières
June 16-17, 2012
at parc Pie XII  ("Park P-Dooze")

Meet the Blues Brothers impersonators.  This photo was taken during the 2004 Auto Expo, standing next to their 1975 Dodge Monaco, a replica of the car featured in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.  [The sign propped up against the right-hand tire says "Nous sommes en 'mission' pour le Signeur" ("We are on a mission for the Lord"), a quote from the film.] The 'Blues Brothers' were there yesterday but on the opposite side of the park from where we were, and we had to leave before we could locate them; hence this substitute photo from an earlier expo--same place, different year. 

Also from 2004:  The Funky-Zone Dancers doing a dance from "Grease"
There was no entertainment at yesterday afternoon's 2012 Expo, and less than half the 
crowd I remember from eight years ago.  It was also about 20 degrees hotter outside.  
I so hoped they'd be there this time, these talented dancers - they were really cool.

Some of the cars:

Click on photos to enlarge

1923 Ford Model T Bucket roadster

1924 Ford Model T Roadster

1929 Ford Model T, side view
Eight windows

Same 1929 Model T Ford, front view

The price of gasoline was $.19 per gallon in 1929.
Bread was 25 cents a loaf and cigarettes 25 cents a pack.
A Ford Model T cost around $525

1929 Chevy International 4-door Sedan, side view

Same 1929 Chevy 4-door Sedan, front view

1929 Mercedes Benz SSK roadster

Fewer than 40 SSKs were built during its production span, of which about half were sold as racing cars. [Wiki].

1931 Ford Model A Sedan

Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to $1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. [Wikipedia]

1939 Chevy coupe

1939 Chevy coupe interior

1934 Ford coupe

1934 Ford coupe front, with four grinning skulls

1934 Ford coupe, rear view

1937 Ford sedan
The 1937 Ford featured a more rounded look with fine horizontal bars in the convex front and hood-side grilles. The front grille was V-shaped, rather than following the fenders into a pentagon shape, as on the 1936 model. [Wikipedia]

1938 Chevy "Master"

1946 Ford, under the hood

1946 Mercury pickup truck

1951 Mercury Custom

1953 Chevy Bel Air

(One big long seat--like  a couch.
Are you old enough to remember those skinny steering wheels?!)

1953 Chrysler Windsor
Larger than a mid-size and sitting on a wheelbase of more than 2.79 meters, the full-size Windsor was sold from the 1940's through the 1960's.

1955 Buick Riviera

1955 Ford Fairlane

1955 Pontiac Chieftain

[That's a doll there, by the way--not a kid.]

1956 Renault Juva 4
I like this color.  Blue-gray?  Gray-blue? Blue-gray with a hint of green?
The color of the sea sometimes.  Soothing.

1957 Corvette, lovingly polished

[Possible caption for the guy at the back:
"You missed a spot."]

Just look at that shine!!

A true dinosaur, the 1959 Edsel Corsair

1964 [?] Chevy Corvette Stingray

1967 Plymouth Barracuda

1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible

1968 Plymouth Valiant Custom

1969 Ford Mustang, Mach I
Ford Mustangs were manufactured from 1964 until 1973.

1969 Ford Mustang, Mach I, side view

1970 Lamborghini Espada

1970 Lamborghini Espada engine
Wanna hear how it sounds?
Check out this video of "Lamborghini Espada Engine Music"!

1971 Chevy Chevelle SS

1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

1972 Ford Mustang

1974 Volkswagen Beetle, flirty
Flower power, ha ha

1975 Cadillac Eldorado

Elvis lives!

1986 Citroen 2CV

The "2CV" stands for deux chevaux,  i.e. “deux chevaux-vapeur [fiscaux]”, literally “two tax horsepower
Bootlegger, modified

My mate, checking out the interior of a Corvette

The local L'Hebdo Journal wrote there'd be between 400 and 600 cars dating from 1903 to today, on exhibit yesterday at parc Pie XII.  (This park was named after the 12th of the popes named Pius).  There were nowhere near that many cars.  A handfull of kiosks (they foretold there'd be 50) sold hats and T-shirts and ice cream cones as retro music blared out from a loudspeaker.  Not much of a crowd (they predicted 10,000).  But today was Father's Day, it was beastly hot outside, and dozens of other activities were likely going on at the same time.  It was still interesting, and worth going to.  I know little about cars, or engines,  who made what model vehicle when, etc., but it's fun seeing these old relics, observing the enthusiasm and hearing the stories of those that do.

Some of these babies never get taken out (except for these expos).  Highly insured, they sit much of their life in protective garages, lovingly worked on, maintained, and bragged about.  When you see them on the highway, it's like going back in time.  Once we were driving home from Montreal when halfway up Route 40 all of a sudden, out of nowhere, come 50 Mustangs speeding past, all in a row,  all heading in the same direction.  Red ones, blue ones, orange ones, silver ones, old ones, new ones, original and "modified", their drivers in funky hats, grinning from ear to ear.  "Must be the Expo", we said. 

Well, anyway, that was our afternoon walk through the park yesterday. If anyone can tell me the exact year of the car in the 30th photo--the 1960's era Corvette, I will correct the label underneath the image. The owner was not on site, there was no identifying placard on the windshield, and no one we asked could say for sure. 

I have to say, my personal favorite was the flirty Beetle with the appended eyelashes, in Photo #41.

They all had distinctive personalities, a reflection--in many cases--of their caring and creative owners.  Several were for sale.  Those cars were really built back then.  I would love to have found the one from 1903, mentioned by L'Hebdo, but alas, we became undone, finally, by the heat and humidity and had other errands to attend to.  But what an interesting tour, among these driving machines of yesteryear, the now dated, ever 'cool', and occasionally, downright comical.  (sorry, Edsel.)

Enjoyed the show, and in retrospect, was kind of glad in fact that the anticipated crowds did not materialize.  This was supposed to be a short post recounting a walk in some park. Unfortunately, I had to go and take pictures.  Anyway, thought this might be of interest to some readers.   Or for the mechanically inclined--a looksee at a Lamborghini engine.  :)  I, for one, would not turn down a ride in a Lamborghini ANY day!

Trivia Car Questions I Don't Know the Answer To:

1.  When did they stop making those running boards on cars?  You know, at the sides of the car underneath the door as a practical device to ease your way in?  Made sense back then, when cars sat higher up off the ground than they do today.   Wiki says running boards could also be used to stand on while the vehicle is moving (think 'gangsters chased by police or rival gangsters'). Originally designed for functional or aesthetic reasons (think 'fashion statement'), later discarded as unnecessary.  But what was the last year any car came equipped with traditional running boards?  My mate has no clue.  And wishes I would stop asking car questions, ha ha.

2.  Why'd they make the steering wheel thicker? 
What people liked about the thin ones:  "good, tight grip with forefinger and thumb" says one.
What they like about the revised, thicker ones:  "Good resting place for the thumbs", says another.  Plus it looks and feels more like a race car!  Option packages with certain cars today enable you to change radio stations or your CD music without lifting your hand off the steering wheel; you just press into its padding on some invisible button. (I"m sure there is special jargon for these elements, but not being a car person, I can't name them.)

 'Car-person'--by that I mean I don't really pay much attention to cars; they are not on my radar, so to speak.  I've avoided owning one for most of my life, relying for transportation on buses, my bike or my feet (or lifts from friends).  I am relieved not to have responsibility for a car.

3.  Let's talk speed limits.  According to Wikipedia, "The first maximum speed limit was the 10 mph (16 km/h) limit introduced in the United Kingdom in 1861."  (I had to look that up.)  And up until 2010,   in Abu Dhabi, the highest posted speed limit was 160 km/h (99 mph).  It must be frustrating having a car that'll do 130 mph or more but never be in a position to test it.

I should wrap this up.  But wanted to mention, my interest in these cars was more connected to their place in our culture than their date of manufacture, top speed, or location of engine.  They seem like mobile museum pieces, painstakingly restored/skillfully rebuilt, at sometimes enormous expense, to be moved from here to there for display purposes, or sold privately to collectors.

They've evolved, some of them, from enormous gas guzzlers to compact electric plug-ins but there's a kind of seeming uniformity re: car styles today (with few exceptions).  Again, just my observation.  Because looking out a car window on a thruway, at dozens of cars zooming by, I would be hard put to identify the year, make or model of even a fourth of them.   Minus the logo, label or some identifiable uniqueness (I hear car afficionados laughing here), they pretty much all look the same to me.  (My mate gives me one of those looks, ha ha).

Well, so these were a few of the cars on display out in Parc Pie-XII yesterday. a fine assortment of metal, chrome, and color they were.  Interesting to see what lasts, and what fades.  (When was the last time you saw a new mud-brown, pink, orange or neon-green car, for example?).  Red is always "in".  But they're still basically all a one-color design.  Artful departures from this template are relatively rare.  (Two-tone is not radical; I was thinking more along the lines of patterned images.  As with houses, certain color/design combinations just don't "go".  Red is okay for a car or barn; purple polka dots, on the other hand, is notably non-conformist and visually offensive to the majority.  But perhaps only because we've been conditioned to assign things "to their place", in the social order of things, as it were.   Just like you can't leave the house with one blue sock and one brown sock on, you can't paint your car in stripes of half-orange/half black.  (Everyone knows those are Halloween colors!)

No, but seriously, onlookers will oooh and ahhhh at a Model T clunking down the path, try maybe to imagine what it would be like to ride in one; but when the Edsel appears--a ripple of laughter emerges.  Why?  (I speak for myself here.)  Why am I fascinated with Model T's -- and snickering at the Edsel?  An automatic, involuntary gesture, but it tells me I make value judgments based on perceived meanings, having less to do with aesthetics and more to do with what I think these particular cars "say" to me.  Let's put it this way:  If they somehow were to magically transform themselves from innert hunks of steel into knowable humans, which one would I feel more comfortable being around?    The model T, as clunky and basic as it seems, strikes me as ... well ... gentlemanly (if a bit mothbally)--while the Edsel ... reminds me for some reason, of Rodney "I don't get no respect!" Dangerfield, ha ha..  (Apologies, Rodney).

Okay, I'm done.  This is turning into a book. Went to a car show and I come away thinking about comparative personalities. 

A petite disclaimer.  I hate the color Yellow.  I think that color should be restricted to pineapples and bananas and sunflowers, not clothing and cars.  I don't own a single thing that is yellow.  Except maybe a pencil.  I also am not crazy about the color orange ("Halloween!"),  but I found myself pausing in front of that little yellow and orange 1938 Chevy 'Master' and its hand painted, half checkerboard/half red, twirly 'mouthed' design on its door.  Kind of like a school of odd-shaped, eyeless fish silently barking to whoever follows behind:  "Take note, folks.  We're going somewhere!"  And for that brief moment, I honestly would have given up a ride in the Lamborghini--and hopped in that little Chevy instead.   (This is what I meant by cars "speaking to you", drawing you in when you're hurriedly heading elsewhere, pulling you back, hinting "Hey look at me. Take a second look.  I'm not what I seem.  I'm more."

And so he was.  Things appeal to people for different reasons.  I'd deemed the VW "cute", and  labeled it my favorite (of this group).  I'm adding the '38 Chevy Master, despite its yellow/orange exterior, because it made me stop and really see it.

Car culture!!!  Yeah!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

To a poet friend across the pond


Another Father's Day,
a reminder of the song you've since become,
the voice of woven, pulsating
memory, of those three
extraordinary days you
got to see him,
hold him,
allow yourselves to 

He would never come to know you,
       or you him
       across a measure of years . . .

but what is Time?
        Cannot eternity be contained in
a single moment?    in
the selfless flow of love,
       a touch, the holding,
              the breath of hope?
 Who's to say there's no 'knowing' there?

For my friend R and his wife,
may the fact of J.V.'s brief presence
ease the ache of his absence,
be yet cause to celebrate today, for the
honor of fatherhood, the "dear imagination"
of which you spoke, the birth of new poems,
the knowledge that this connection -
and your and his continuing conversation -
will never end.