For Loss of Words (Sit Beside Me Still)

“…and if these pictures have anything important to say to future generations, it’s this: ‘I was here. I existed. I was young. I was happy. And someone cared enough about me in this world to take my picture.’” — Robin Williams, One Hour Photo

For Loss of Words (Sit Beside Me Still) — “The Caffeine Chronicles” Number 4.

This is my portrait of you.
It speaks to me in strange, colored verses,
in whispered codes of ancient languages.
I often get that illusion.  You are not easy to ignore.
I’ve long studied its dog-eared corners, one by one,
pressed against the fluorescent light.
I’ve made its hidden legends my own and let them float
with gray-streaked butterflies in olden seas of remembrance.
Does your sadness speak of me?
What is it worth – this picture,
your tender dedication that peers through splintered glass
from which I see myself?
Have my hands trembled so hard it shook your world?
Will you ever see why this picture is all about you?
The shadows adore you, the sun-kissed curves,
the wayward tresses that define you, your omnipresence –
the magic of always being where the sun wants you.
Even the moonbeams seek the darker side of your afflictions.
Those rarest of moments your eyes find my lens tell me
that ships have finally come to berth,
that there are no more worlds to conquer.
But life has a way of fading out-of-focus, like snapshots.
Haven’t I reminded you enough where to stand, when to smile,
whether it’s time to look at me or turn away?
We were younger then.  We are no older now.
We never bothered about bigger things,
only details that mattered enough
because they can be hung in frames.
Our ponderwall.

I did not listen before.  But I am listening now.
Sometimes I wonder whether I have loved you enough
beneath the sound of closing shutters and flashing strobes.
I’m sorry I have given you nothing more than space.
I’m just seeing now the side of you I’ve never known.
But never think that I have taken your pictures
merely for loss of words.
Millions of them dwell in portraits,
within forgotten corners, within their breadth.
But this empty house tells me words cannot be uttered.
For now, let me savor their untold tales.
Let me recount the ardent hopes in sublime passages
and spools of thoughts.  Let august winds permeate the soul.
Then remind me that, in a digital world, it is never the subject.
Today my universe had gotten bigger.
I won’t be asking for anything more than clear skies
of purple hues with pulsars beating their science of light.
It’s just that every time the curtains go down and a journey begins
I’d know a previous journey had ended.
But isn’t this the way of the world?
From now until then, all I will have is this picture.
I look at it then close my eyes.
I see gray-streaked butterflies in cupboards.
I see some distant night two people danced
before a window of stars,
behind the soft drapes of Coltrane.
I see shades of days underneath the molave tree.
I see you smiling the day we first met.
My sadness makes you immortal.

(be still)

Photo credit (top photo): Thanks to Jessie Couture Manansala

42 thoughts on “For Loss of Words (Sit Beside Me Still)

  1. Hi Neil, stumbled upon this when I looked up the One Hour Photo quote. Beautiful lines that won’t fade with time… How wonderfully fitting.


    • thanks so much Megan! at first i was taken aback by what you said. i am currently trying to write some sort of “sequel” to this (female point of view). i really thought you read my mind. hope i finish it though. nice to hear from you again.


      • I can’t wait to read it. Your brilliance has me torn between wanting to write something delicious or hanging up my pen forever. You’re one of my absolute favourite writer/bloggers. *hugs*


        • first i have to make the thoughts in my head “bluetooth” their way nicely into my mac (usually there is where the problem lies). a lot of good writing material often die that way. overwhelmed by your kind words. hugs!


  2. What a powerful pen you have ! And, equally powerful eyes to capture. I am stunned at the gorgeous poem, accept my appreciation. Cheers.


  3. I am moved. Your words are lovely, rich with meaning and elegantly scripted. It’s always what’s hidden within the written word that moves people. Again, I am moved.


  4. First of all, the artist of that picture did a wonderful job!

    Second, I love love love this poem! You created a beautiful/yet sad image in my head. I will probably come back and read it again and again. :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your comment!


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