14 and the Drag On Me All Day Long

Today, July 13, sometime between 00:05 and 00:55, back in 1995, Allen E. Howland died.

There was a sort of drag on me the entire day. Footsteps labored and heavy, an extra 20 pounds on me, all in my heart, I think.

Fourteen years and fourteen minutes and fourteen seconds and fourteen microseconds. They’re all the same sometimes, y’know? No difference at all. Forward and backward: fourteen seconds from now or fourteen seconds ago I will feel or have felt the stunning loss and I stopped or will stop.

But it will be mostly sweet because fourteen years is sometimes fourteen years and not fourteen minutes or seconds or microseconds and time mellows some things.

It mellows the heart but not the brain. It mellows the soul but not the mind.

What remembers the facts brings cold hard tears and pain and bitter, bitter anguish and politics and hate for people who hate and violence for people who choose ignorance and repudiation for people who choose prejudice.

What remembers the times and the feelings brings warmth and sunshine and healing and sweetness and the dew of a thousand little moments of joy collected like snowflakes that never fall in San Francisco on tongues that speak love in private rooms and not on podiums at rallies and steal from futures that you know won’t ever come to pass because death stands between him and those days so far ahead.

A thousand days of churlish, impudent, impotent addicted bludge is no match for a single day of brilliant, quiet, feeble, febrile, low gauge needles capping meters of tubing and hospital smells of denatured alcohol and sterile 4x4s and showing up and loving and keeping him One More Day as much for him as for me. More for me.

Much more for me: I’m selfish like that.

I miss you, Yog, and the streams and starts and stops of sorrow of loss and joy of remembrance since before July 13, 1995 and after and until now and what will surely continue until I myself stop are so much of who I am that who you were carries on in me.

I gave you all I had. You gave me all you had left.