I did not raise a pen in honor of Charlie,
but I wrote words that dropped out of my mind and saturated a page
with mis-matched blotches, a Rorschach Test of distress and frustration.
Today, I gathered my courage in my fingers and I looked for you,
Looked at you
This delicate man within a cage, an open-air cell of metal rods soldered together
To hold you in.
To hold the world out.
And you were lit on fire, a dear phoenix, a humble sacrifice, a hideous testament to evil.
My dear sir, whose name I have read but can’t recall,
I see you, oh Burning Man in the desert. You are not a primal
Resurrection of artistic transcendence.
You are merely an orange match alit with torture, used as a landmark, a milestone in history’s path
To pull one country against another country, to force the kings to move their pawns
While the queens wait, and ponder.
I did not hear your screams. I could not gather enough courage to watch your life extinguish
Beneath the weight of amber flames writing their calligraphy against your body
And incinerating your dreams into a fine ash.
I chose not to listen to the men chant praises to the metronome of your screams.
Maybe, in my deafness, I have given you a voice that still whispers across time and miles
And fills me with sadness bordered by uncertainty.
I want this to be my declaration for good, but I am weary of this,
Weary of people who surge into the darkness while holding little boys’ hands
And make them swear allegiance to a white curlicue on a black flag.
I feel the fatigue curl around my feet, push me into a sense of distance-induced ennui.
I am feeble with my loneness, my isolation.
My dear, dear sir, I live in a tiny corner of the world that is huddled in happiness and obliviousness.
But I stand here, holding the edges of your memory.
And I promise that I’ll never let go.