december 20 2019 (re-association in 2010)

after almost two seasons,

seven months of state imposed non-association

these two men embrace like brothers on a battlefield


their arms thrown across each other’s broad backs,

heads buried in each other’s shoulders

they couldn’t stop glancing to make sure

his brother was still there, real and alive

though the time was too shortened and interrupted,

neither could lean his whole weight on the other


then yesterday, after nine months of state imposed non-association

two men again embraced in the same place another had stood, and again,

i saw with my own eyes, the love of men again


the weight of their joy, the lock of their arms

the heaviness lifted and with firm, blunt stitches

they sewed themselves back into each other’s lives

until the gaping seams were scars,

strengthened by the break.


and turning over in my mind what i had seen

finding in the cruelty of state oppression,

when the arms that hold us back from the edge of disaster

are bound by repression, or sickness, or even death


we walk out of the courts, into the jails and into a frenzy of isolation—we feel so alone

what can we do but spin mindlessly out of control, remaining unconscious so as to survive

taking with us all we have promised, falling captive to mind demons

when one voice calling only breaks itself against its own throat

banked on every side by the constant unpredictability of tyranny


blinding, unending white night

he is blurred by loss and sinking fast,

forgetting even the memory of how to hold


what can we do but wait for the day?

breathing low and slow, conserving all strength to hold on

and crouch around the ember just a little while longer

pared down to the hope of one or the other breaking—

ourselves, or a small crack in the wall.


brothers, i have seen your strong arms and strong hearts

shatter the wedge they drove between you, then

circle it slowly to decide on its fate. use it. use it

to pound against these prison walls

each small crack, each muted shout heard from the cell becomes

a single light in the darkness for the almost-gone











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