they knew you
better than I did
most of them
in their fine Nile

they watch the
fog rising and
sit in the corner
of the street

the current
flows quickly by
I snag
some of the wood

as it drifts thinking
I always wanted
to walk with you
past the ruins

of Lord Byron
and touch
the red bird
you painted

and read the
lines you wrote
with the last word

until the door opens
for all of us as
the river flows
as the door swings

open I guess maybe
what I knew
of you you
gave me many times

in poetry and
art sweet
awful death I
fear your arms

I love your river
rising the barges
and rafts the
water scum

and dramatic
gestures we all
fling I loved
your yellow

and your blue
not to mention
a wreath of
trees to plant

along the banks
and how you sold
your work
in Kerouac Alley

with the other
river people
or sang on the
sidewalk of our

cafe your thin
eyes I capture
the delicate
strings of a guitar

you wrote and
strummed and
painted all
those decades

or holding my hand
and saying thank you
at the library
tribute in your honor

when I joined others
reading your poems
you still had a warm
and intense grip

I guess it is easy
to remember how
only one time
we sail alone

©Neeli Cherkovski


© Red Swan

The Red Swan by Tony Vaughan

Lord Byron Hunt

words enlarged from poster

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