For Algis Thomas Kemezys

Take a lovely, lonely man
who has traveled far and wide
in search of the elusive miraculous
always an outsider looking in
upon the movable feast
from which he felt excluded,
a man who builds rock cairns
on river banks and ocean shores,
a man who photographs Hindu Sadhus
in their thousands at the Maha Kumbh Mela,
catching the essence of the indescribable:
It takes one to know one
We always seemed to know
how each other felt about things.

I once joked that I would not be still alive
to see the next Mahu Kumbh Mela,
and you said that you might not either
although you were much younger than
I was then, as you still are now.

Take a lonely man who struggles for clarity,
bless him with the gift of love’s healing light,
shower him with the blessings of holy communions,
let him open the doors that were closed against him,
let him join the diners at the movable feast,
and, then, just like that, take the light away again,
shattering the crystal flutes, tearing the drum heads,
poking holes in the light to let the darkness in again,
as the misery turns to anguish in the broken heart.

It would be so easy to let go and slip away.
it would be so easy not to be again,
we have all felt that temptation
from time to time,
in the deep despair with which
lost loves scar broken hearts…

But, wait, and remember,
and then remember again,
that which has ever been
always is and always will be.

Nothing is ever lost.
He lives in your memory.
You are the repository
in which his grace persists.

Your passing would leave a hole in the cosmos
that no one else would ever be able to fill;
Do not rush so rashly to your final exit
Remember that you are the crucible
in which his fire remains ablaze
and you are the lens through which
others can receive his blessings from.

It’s a hard row to hoe, my friend,
but much is required from those
to whom much has been given;

You are the lens that organizes the light
that would otherwise escape our attention;
we are the audience to your transformations
from merely humans to transcendent beings.

I have always thought that you were
the only unphotographed sadhu
among the thousands that congregated there
because you were the one who was behind the lens.

Listen to me carefully;
We are you and you are us:
Handle with care.

Someday,
sooner not later,
I will shuffle on off this mortal coil
that we have shared together
having seen what I could see
and done what I could do,
but let’s not do this yet,
you have images yet to collect
and I still have some words
that I haven’t used yet.

Let’s go on together
as long the flesh is willing
and the mind can stand the strain
as the pain of remembering
slowly turns into the balm
of soothing recollections.

Do not waste the love you earned;
Be a candle in the wind:
the pain of survival is
the price we pay for love received.

No one can stand in your shoes
No one else can ever feel what you feel
but we have seen glimpses of beauty
as seen through your eyes
you are not finished with us yet,
nor are we finished with you,
the wheel’s still in spin,
where there is pain
there is always love,
where there love,
there is always pain.

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