Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poem for Marcel

This is my high school friend, Marcel. We lost touch for many years, then I tracked him down through the internet and we resumed our friendship. One night I got a phone call. Marcel, who had had a sad life, had committed suicide, leaving a letter for me and a phone number for me to be notified. I wrote this poem in the days after his death, and read it, through tears, at his memorial. I wrote a story about him, and our friendship, also, and will post it soon.


My high school photo: Class of '64


You were always
waiting for me
on the corner
of Elliot and Richter
in the snow
all those dark sub-zero
bitter weekday mornings
in the crystal dead of winter
long ago,
under crisply winking stars
fall in beside me,
our steps crunching
across the frozen snow
towards the lighted school
where you would play
my champion,
towards the lighted school
where I would play
the fool.

We need not speak;
you were just there
to guide me
you supported me
and loyally you cared
through all those years
you walked,
silent, beside me
so full of all the words
I could not speak
so left unsaid,
brittle with so many
tears
I knew not
how to shed.

Your presence
along the deep abyss
that I was skirting
was a comfort
you, the only one
to see that I was hurting
you, the only one to see
who I was
really meant to be
hiding behind the gay bravado,
the laughing eyes,
the laughter,
you saw me shining then
and ever after
all my life long,
you've always been
my friend

Perhaps your presence
kept me from
the chasm,
my pain hid deep
behind my
thousand smiles,
you knew I needed
help
along those
so-precarious miles,
and up that hill of pain
so steep,
someone
who would
my painful
secret
keep.

You were so loyal,
you asked for nothing
but it is true
that in those years
that burned us deep
I was your defender, too
When other boys taunted you
beyond your years,
so sage, so wise,
till angry tears stood,
smarting,
in your outraged eyes,
frustration at living in a world
so cruel,
I would fall in beside you
as we walked away
from yet another day
survived in school

I lost you for a long and lonely time,
went looking for you many years ago
you, the one who always made me laugh,
you, the only one from those sad years
who "knew me when"
and who was still my friend

I needed to thank you
for always
standing by,
be your friend
better
than I could be
back then
when you watched me
breaking my heart
over silly boys
who decried me
while all the time
someone who cared
stood right beside me

One day your name was there
on my computer screen
it was so good to finally
make up the lost years
in between
But, Marcel, you left too soon
and suddenly.
This time I thought
that there would always be
more time to tell you
all you mean to me
especially how
kind you are
and rare,
how clear you see,
how loyally
you care,
we still had so much
friendship
left
to share

Once again,
as if the years
had never intervened,
there you were
supporting me
behind my winking screen
making me laugh as I did you
with stories
all too ludicrous
and true
because laughter after pain
is what we always knew

I took for granted
this time you would
always be
at the other end
of an email
never lost again
to me
We never had the chance
to meet again
If we did
I knew your face
would be the same
because your heart was
throughout all the years
unchanged

We did not metamorphose;
from those young ghosts
our spirits rose
and we became
more truly
who we are:
delightfully deranged,
two solitary souls
who are
wicked awesome
strange

I still had a hug
to give you
in this lifetime,
wanted one more time
to look into your eyes
You left too soon
but this I surely
promise:
Marcel,
you'll always
be a friend
of mine

I have to believe
that one day
I'll be crossing
a clear and frozen
landscape
all alone
until I reach the
far and distant
corner
just past the morning star
the corner
where you are
just waiting
to fall into step
beside me,
your presence
in that moment
not denied me,
to support me through
that last stretch of the journey
Once more
I will be
Heading Home
with you.

Marcel,
back when you loved me then
so true,
I'll bet you never dreamed
that it would end up
me and you.

18 comments:

  1. This poem completely choked me up, Sherry. How tender it is..and how lucky you and Marcel were to have each other, if only for a short while. Friends are truly our greatest blessings at any age.

    Looking forward to reading the story...

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  2. Love your beautifully sweet and sensitive grad photo...

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  3. This is such a touching post and tribute to Marcel. I love your picture it is beautiful. Thank you for sharing a bit of your heart with us. :-)

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  4. Thank you for your comments......friends are wonderful, for sure:)

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  5. A great tribute to Marcel -- but your poem inspires life. Thanks.

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  6. Wonderfully written work! Thank you for sharing! =)

    -Weasel

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  7. He looks such a sensitive boy and your words prove that he was just that.

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  8. Not many are privileged to have a friendship that borders on angelic proportions. The words:

    I have to believe
    that one day
    I'll be crossing
    a clear and frozen
    landscape
    all alone
    until I reach the
    far and distant
    corner
    just past the morning star
    the corner
    where you are
    just waiting
    to fall into step
    beside me...

    show that your friendship will survive mere mortality, Sherry.

    Lovely!

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  9. I weep to read these words Sherry and can say no more than that.

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  10. This is such a touching poem about your dear friend. I'm so glad you were his good friend and that you reunited on line for a while. I'm sure you added to his life. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  11. Thank you, kind readers. This poem just came through me right after his death. It was hard to read it at his memorial , I cried the whole way through,but I needed to tell him what he meant to me. Should have done it sooner.

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  12. Sherry Blue Sky,
    This was a real, warm friendship.
    And written with such honesty and affection.
    I'm sorry about the loss of your friend Marcel, Sherry.
    Thank you for sharing this very poignant story.

    Best wishes,
    Eileen

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  13. Such a poem of respect and esteem for Marcel. A glowing poem that honors, Sherry.

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  14. What a tribute to a unique soul; I love your photos! YOU are so beautiful~ Marcel reminds me of a friend and a family member that lost his step in our world. He is still with us, but lost his way...
    Hard not to be choked by your words and the sadness of your friend and your loss~ He was a shining star in a sea of ordinary, unable to reattach his limb(his pain drove him to a final chapter on this Earth, yet I believe you two, will meet again, past the morning star) XXX

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  15. Thank you so much for the very kind comments. I appreciate every single one.

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  16. Sweet that you and Marcel had each other in those difficult years, and found each other again - sad that his pain got him in the end. Thanks for the poem.

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  17. "bitter weekday mornings
    in the crystal dead of winter"
    - I know that scene all too well.

    This is the sort of poem, you just...cannot make up out of thin air....this is truth, this is pain, this is love...this is reality.

    'Twas like watching a movie...whilst reading this piece.

    My poem on the prompt: http://oilunderneath.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/hibiscus/

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  18. Straight from th heart and such a beautiful tribute, Sherry.

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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!