I’ve never felt such a hard and deepening blow as the departure and absence of David from my life. Still, I am unable to use the word ‘loss’, even in the wake of tremendous grief and heartbreak. The gift of David has been too profound … too enormous … too exquisite to use a word like ‘loss’ in describing anything to do with him. It’s impossible to voice the privilege I feel for every minute we’ve shared… every moment of living our lives.
I don’t think I really knew this degree of love or the fullness of truly living before David. Certainly not of the intimacy that is possible when we embrace each other, and embrace ourselves. I didn’t know that about intimacy … the part about embracing ourselves. Not until he showed me.
Sharing one’s death is no less of a privilege, and certainly no less intimate than sharing one’s life. There wasn’t a single moment that didn’t contain David’s seamless grace. As his energy became less available, David Bruce simply expended it with discernment and reserve for the most important, the most honoring and relevant uses – still giving its proportion freely and purposefully to others.
There has been a magic in all of this. The precise people showing up at the precise time for the precise purpose and service … as though he choreographed even the moment of his departure. I almost hesitate to write that part down here. It sounds so …. well, so much the way those things sound. But too many of us sat in awe of that precision and grace for me to wonder if it were only imagined. Magic doesn’t surprise me much anymore. I’ve rather come to expect it.
Anyway … David and I both put this video together. He appreciated watching me work on things like this. He liked having me move the photos around and enjoyed the unexpected thoughts and conversation it inspired. David enjoyed seeing the moments we all shared, and also those he shared before me. So this isn’t just something I’m putting up here ….. it’s from David. I added a few additional photos and selected some music for it. He left that up to me. So as much as this slide video is in memory of David – it is equally David’s remembrance to those he loved – and he wanted me to share it with you.
David loved seeing you … thinking of you. He viewed this through most of its iterations. Often a number of times. I can tell you this for sure. David loved the people in his life. He loved you …..
My fears lay awake in a lucid dream, the compass for where I stand. Had I the wisdom to depart from this place I don’t belong, the grace wisdom brings ought be present in me, and I would never have found myself here. I did not have that wisdom, nor the grace it affords. My departure here will be clumsy therefore, and things large and small may get broken. But it is no less true, the imperative that I must leave.
I found myself on stage. A dim spotlight shining on me. The opening of Khachaturian’s Masquerade, I can hear – and the seats are close to full. I wish so much that I could dance myself away unnoticed. But I’ll loudly stumble off – conspicuously echoed, gruelingly observed. A snickering as a tcht tcht tcht, of tongues in heads moving side to side, and the tightening around my heart that follows.
With a ring the music of a waltz begins – Dancers leaping into strides that rise and fall. I will disappear, restore in Nocturne… as the suite spectacularly plays on. In Capriccio I’ll turn back to see why the music sighs – the breathlessness of beauty where grace belongs. I’ll find myself seated among glorious applause, jeweled ovation, my hands in adamant clapping – Fandango, rising as one of the all.
I shall never shake my head, though – with a tcht tcht tcht sound for the fool standing the stage alone. I know of his courage, and the onlookers shame – in the surety of ushered velvet seating, house lights, and the numbers only in which, feigned strength is played.
Image Artist ~ Elnur Amikishiyev
When I was a child, I believed I had two souls. I remember asking what a soul was, and being told a very ‘Catholic’ version of what it was and where it resides. My response was “Oh – I have two of those,” walking away satisfied with the explanation. I never accepted that I did not have these ‘two souls’ even as the occasional correction would come. I did learn that one soul was permitted of me, and another was not.
It was not then, nor is it today about gender or sexuality for me with regard to what I thought as a child to be my ‘two souls’. It is about the portion of myself I had to keep to myself…. one to flourish, and one to die – one to be fed in darkness- another welcome at the family (and society’s) table. It isn’t possible to live as a whole person, with part of you dying. It isn’t possible to die as a whole person with only part of you living…though many have departed us that way – many still do today.
The part of myself I left furthest behind has astonishing gifts of creativity. The power and symphonic magnitude – a hidden heart of irrepressible expression – quiet, refrained, even huddling…hidden – though still, irrepressible expression.
The one I fed and kept with me- the one welcome at the table could build things, was strong and forceful… and was best suited to stand stalwart- to hide and protect the other- or so it seemed. To hold secret meetings with, and quietly and discreetly smuggle out the genius and radiance I was told no one should see.
I wonder today if we will see the glorious transformation of the human spirit and the human condition as we reject it upon arrival – when neither this nor that, him nor her… and no spectrum of variation in the in-betweens calls for social credential. This, is the ‘going against nature’- in defiance of how we were born. At 19 I was beaten, shot, called a fag and left bleeding along side a road – my car speeding off without me – without us…the hidden and the seen. At fifty-five years old, I have only begun to let light into that cellar, that hiding place – or is it that I have only begun to let light out?
We’ll see. I can’t answer that until the whole of me decides. None of us can answer anything until the whole of us decides. I hope we do. I hope we see the incorporation and fullness of our natures – and the profound resolution, which comes through the un-defining of who we are – the emancipation for all we can be.
Four Years Together & One Year Married
My Life With You Is All I’ve Ever Hoped For ~ All I Could Ever Have Dreamed
Happy First Year Anniversary, David !
I’ll never be able to describe the romance. The ‘out of the clearest blue’ unexpected profound romance. I remember meeting before he left for Cuzco – and agreeing to communicate together while he was gone. Another one of those things you’re sure you shouldn’t tell anyone…especially in writing. The part about my friend Martin and I practicing remote communication for months before… and for no intended reason at the time. It later seemed like a confirmation that David and I should try, and felt decidedly about purpose and divinity after we agreed that we would, with no hesitation between us. I don’t recall how such a topic like remote communication might come up on a second date…but it had, and we did…or so I remember it. That’s the thing about such things, seeming like something you dreamed of, or even dreamed up…. the more that time pushes it behind you. It was magic either way. Pure Magic.
Getting out of Stefanie’s car one day after grocery shopping – the day before he would arrive home from Cuzco… I asked her. I looked at her quite seriously… “what if he changes his mind?” She looked at me a little funny … not knowing much other than that I liked him…really liked him…. “change his mind about what?” she answered. And then I realized of course, there had never been anything to change. There had never been an agreement to revise – no acceptance to decline – no first words to reconsider. Still, I held waiting for an answer just the same. He tells, so did he …..
We both love the wind on our faces. We both love elevations … nature … vistas that just seem to rise upon you. We drove all of the time. I’ve never driven or ridden so much. Not before, not since. We went everywhere we wanted to go. Everywhere! I had never before laughed so much – felt so good – cared so much and so little at the same time… in very different and important ways where caring is concerned.
I can feel a force right now just talking about it – or writing it, anyway. It’s like what you feel on your face … your body … when a roller coaster climbs, or a ride you’re strapped into begins to rise. It’s not you controlling the drive. It’s all torque, all thrust … jumping at every start. It’s fainter now, but it’s not just a phantom. No, this I didn’t dream. This came from within me. The spontaneous, involuntary response in which I had no say. All I knew is that my heart beat fast, and I would say things that surprised me to hear for the first time. All of it wrapped up in laughter, blue eyes, and white, white hair blowing in the wind.
I Love You, David
I am stunned each time I learn that someone I know and admire does not believe or accept the existence of white privilege. Not men who lack empathy, intelligence or discernment skills – but brilliant men. One a doctor specializing in children- One, a life coach who teaches wellness, fitness, conservation, and modalities of healing and consciousness. Another, a friend and highly accomplished colleague. None of whom comprehend White Privilege within the world they see around them. And each of whom otherwise carry integrity and honesty worthy of modeling. How does this occur?
It is invariably white males who cannot see the privilege with which their lives have patently and unerringly endowed. Particularly those who have worked hard, or see evidence of poverty among white people – both of which become argument against having inherited any benefit in any form, above or by way of others. But mostly, it presents as though we can’t accept the accountability that exists in the admission that America’s opportunity-bearing wealth has been built upon the backs of people of color and the free labor their exploitation, servitude and enslavement bore.
What would we better resolve with our undue enrichment, by generational depletion of families and communities who have been denied the same opportunity for accumulation of wealth, self determination and education. Where do we place it, but in its own saving grace of denial. A right of denial, which is only afforded us through the very means of privilege being denied.
Why is this, and how is this possible – that otherwise compassionate men would choose not to learn our history and our responsibilities to it? I can tell you why and how. It is designed this way. Other than those who knowingly perpetuate privilege and false supremacy, there is another category. The category of ignorance. It is this simple.
Privilege depends upon your not being aware
Of the things that do not happen to you
Because of inherent access you are not denied
Humans experience energies much like other elements are perceived. You do not see wind, you see the debris and particulate it conveys. You do not see light, you see its reflection- the side that is not shadow. You see fragments of spectrum as carbon variations reflect the reds, the yellows, the blues and the greens, and the vastness of beauty by their limitless combinations. Still ….. this is merely a reflection.
That which you see in the physical, we tell you, is neither their infinite array nor their incomprehensible spectacle of glory. As much as physical sight will allow, it is dulled to the infinite geometrics of that which is not merely reflection, and yet remains unseen.
You feel the warmth, but not the structures transporting light and energy, nor the speed or wakeless force which delivers its comfort and utility. Neither do you see the envelope from within which humans comprehend a relationship to the universe relative to time- another composition of which only its reflection is perceived. It is a concept only beginning to seep in, and contradict the idea that you are separate from anything else, or that confines perception to a sequence of passing moments, making time the reference to your existence, and eternity the illusion in your mind.
~ Image Artist Bruce Rolff ~
I glanced to the wind blowing past me today
My Spirit swept by like a stranger, though looking
Told a story and touched the earth
Calling dead leaves and memories to the ground
Crisp and crackling, dancing across stones
Gathered and placed to mark a garden
It’s bringing me home I can hear the wind say
Whistling between rocks that hold no green
I stand and wait for the sound of my feet
The purpose once echoed in my stride
Hearing my name from the calling of a distance
Laughter welling up with my leaping to the gate
Running to the sound of my name in a whisper
Calling me further to source and away
I thought it another, I heard among the leaves
That spun and danced around my dreams
Tears welled up in my heart and eyes
Clouding my vision and honing my sight
To see I had waited for a dream not my own
But the calling was to me, by a chariot of wind
The footsteps I heard were my own, in a vision
Their echoes, my calling and departure
I held us here, which kept you away
Hearing but not listening who called
I thought it a stranger among my fears and hope
In a dormant and untended garden
Still the love real, and the tears rejoicing
Lifting to the sky, smiling goodbye and good journey
I reached to the wind blowing past me today
My Spirit stood by like a friend, long waiting
To cast a story and touch the sky
Calling my soul to mindful waking
Image Artist ~ Moreen Blackthorne