scratched into my skin

Dear Benny,

Tonight I feel you everywhere. Your caustic voice, your rippling laugh, your eyes on me – a secret joke – your rough scratched beard a promise ; your caretaking a memory. The lights glow with that familiar warmth, the chords sing with some ancient harmony // the cup-sized friendship still holds water – your absence is everywhere though , sitting on the couch ; I do not want to glower in this feeling of aliveness; it feels somehow wrong ; I remember the care you gave others, the resonance of your sincerity, your advice, clear like a knife, rich with experience ; I remember your stories ; your late night lettuce theiving ;; some joke you are always playing on the world / the impossibility of your absence, the firmness of your presence in all of us ; the way our hearts are all scarred ; the way our scars show faultlines — tectonic plated ; aching love that burns deep ; rivers that peel canyons into stone // leaves marks ;; like so many scratched prison tattoos you pressed into your own skin ; like so many handmade tattoos you tried to teach me how to make – on some summer night when the music flowed out onto the side patio and the warm night air flooded the LED lights you brought to bring light to our magic – and my own virgin skin, my precious lack of understanding, only conceiving in imagination the reality that you bore, the thick reality of piercing yourself with handmade instruments in the loneliest of places – in solitary confinement, ratcheting new dreams onto your skin as a prayer, as a promise, to one day give your light, your art, dreams, back to us, and me, in my fragile understanding, undeserving of this momentous gift – the love and understanding you bestowed, like a prayer, like a promise, and the good works I must follow to the edge of visible light, past hardships I cannot conceive of except in imagination – to spread the light, to keep the promise, like so many handmade prison tattoos scratched into my skin – be that honest. Be that giving.

More than your conception can imagine.

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