PAUL KAREEM TAYYAR
I always liked to think you thumbed your way to Mexico,
Riding shotgun with some San Francisco bohos who’d had enough
Of the Cold War,
Listening to some Central Valley trucker tell you stories of the midnight
Diners where he’d stopped to watch the waitresses move their hips in
Tight black shorts as they went to punch your order,
Or maybe sleeping in the flatbed of some rugged Chevrolet,
Dreaming of the poems you would write.
I know it isn’t likely.
You’d also talked of suicide,
And the little that you wrote was filled with so much loneliness
That there are times when the last thing I would want to do is open up
But this is the faith that I have chosen,
The kind that still believes Amelia Earhart landed safely on some as yet
Dyed her hair,
Changed her name,
And spent her life romancing young sailors who had come to port,
The kind that refuses to accept that the two men who escaped from Alcatraz
In 1973 drowned in the freezing waters of the San Francisco Bay,
The kind that knows you died an old and cranky poet
In a one-room hacienda where you always could afford the paper
And paints you needed to create.
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