Tactility of Loss

Tactility of loss
A Pantheon of pals
Ash goes to ground
Ride on endless highways
From Timpanogos
To Olympus

Underway in the Aegean
Thoughts of Odysseus
And his compatriots
Most fond and trusted

Feeling so so alone
Along on a ship of celebrant retirees
And a smattering of newlyweds
Their future i’ll never know

A teleporter does me no good
Body buried and tears all shed
While In Aqaba pretending
To be Lawrence or Wilfred

I sit with futile cigars
And a bitter drink
And wonder
Why not me?
I can count six distinct times
In a four year stretch
Where i’ve fallen with no idea
Where i’d ever be buried
Buried and rotted without a sound

Oh Rod Howard, how grateful!
I was a man without a tribe
When i found you at the center
Of everything curious
Making bonfire look like a
Mere lighter flame

Everybody’s favorite
Never an unkind word
From or about you
Making magic
Never on time
But always worth the wait

Odysseus sailed here
According to Homer
Whose existence is debated
Escaping villains in caves
Out to scheme his way to
Kindly strangers
With flagons, actual skins,
Of undiluted wine

Your children, your joy
You had no need to run away like me
All your quests took you home
To parents who understood
Your heart, head and desire
To live
Full on

The chatter around me deafening
Who do i commiserate with when
No one knows your lofty heights
Your speed, your softness
You heard me hurt and came without hesitation
Late, but just on time

Rocky coastlines await me
In the coming hours
No helipad exit could
Provide ointment

I will arrive to sit
Perhaps a picnic
At your stone
Perhaps i’ll learn the origins
Of your middle name
Maybe you’ll join me
We’ll play X cassettes on a box covered in stickers
Tom Waits warbles and we’ll make a Jim Jarmusch film
To chronicle your days
From Sunset rock in Los Angeles
To sunset trips in desert canyons
Which still echo with your laugh

I wear a Greek fisherman’s cap
And blue woven shirt
Made as coarse as burlap
For shepherds and taxi drivers

Tear it off and scream
Why you? Why now? Why this?
But no answer impending
And frankly i’d be booted from the cafe

Not a hedonist glutton madman you
Taking corners fast because
You knew the limits of your tyres
Fine tuned for performance and attributes
No one else can define
Except those of us you wrested and cajoled
Invited next to you

These rocky headlands
Come into view
As the ship horn bellows a lament
Now as low as my sinking Mediterranean heart
The blue sea unworthy of my unholy
Reflections of me a mortal
Always running towards something you found
Right at home

I snap a photo of a saddest angler
Who never held a Rod
As sleek and strong as you
Held together glue, sounds
Cracking against the bluest sunset

##

Rod Ash 1969-2017
Big brother to us all