November 25, 2007

Poem by Alex

I am not sure exactly what date this was written, but it was sent to me april 8th, 2003. It is interesting to read it now, several years later, and realize how Ben's 'demons' haunt him. In one sense he has an advantage over most of us who live our lives glibly, in that he faces and has faced mortality directly. I think it makes him appreciate his life more. But on the other hand, I think he feels chased by his own mortality so much that he only seems to live for the present and sometimes stops from living for the future too.

Ben, I love you, I'm here. We're all here. Together.

[Poem By Alex Brooks]

no, this is not just another drunk Lexington Saturday night story
so fucking listen
this is what happened
I was walk9ing home and I saw Ben on Maxwell
driving down Maxwell at the light at upper and he said
hey, we’re going to a prom party
so we went to this prom party, not for high school kids
but for college kids
and it was funny
like I never feel comfortable at parties
especially prom kind of parties
but after a few beers I felt better
and then I sat down
in a comfortable chair
and started to drift
and Ben said
hey scoot over and I said
o.k. and he sat down and started talking about
how one day someone like a doctor or someone
was going to tell me that one day I was going to die
and how you had know this all your life, but then
it was different
what are you supposed to tell
that you should live every day like this
that you should know
with this in mind how every minute
if you weren’t doing something that you wanted to do them you were wasting time
and how all the things we liked like
sailing and rock climbing
inherently included death and that if
you were out on the ocean and a storm came along with thousand foot swells
you were fucking toast
but you were doing exactly what you wanted to do
and he said yes, yes, and
god but I didn’t think I answered him right,
didn’t say anything important
and alyssum had her hand on his leg
and she was laying her head on his leg
and I had my arm around his shoulder,
sitting in the same wing backed chair
and he kept pointing to his chest where some doctor had told him
seventy five percent and cut him fucking open
and what kind of heart is under there
what kid of beating thing and how long it was going to last
and Ben said you know what if you knew you were gonna die some day
like sooner than everyone else
and what happened if you had to make the decision again to seventy five it or not what
would you do
and I just kept saying you had to do whatever you wanted to
each day
and I kept squeezing his shoulder with my fingers
because that was all I could do
all I could do drunk
and not knowing what to say except
live and it doesn’t matter to you if
you die it only matters to those around you
and he agreeing and us
sitting around him
and I though
I am not very important
I feel out of place
I don’t make much difference
and I told him this
we don’t think we make much difference
but really, when we get down to it
that circle that we leave feels a great importance
a great difference
and now
at home
typing this
I just want to be back there
with my arm around him
alyssum at his side
I want us to all close our eyes, lay down
I said I thought I would go into the mountains
and if they said I had a few months on chemo or death I would
go into the mountains and he said
yeah, that would be great but you
don’t really know
I said I don’t really know because that’
s just saying it
and now I wanna be back there and both of us
alyssum and I who would miss him sit there
and fall asleep in that wing back chair
fall asleep and
god I just wanted to tell him it didn’t matter because
we were there


Anonymous said...

I like Ben!
he's cool as hell.
I miss Ben alot,
we dont talk alot
but I like to think
that we have some understanding
but maybe not
at least i think Ben doesnt hate me
thats good

i hope to see Ben again soon
and give him a book i think he would like-

The art of the personal essay.

Tiffanie said...

that's a great poem.