Saying Goodbye to a Dear Friend at the Airport and Such – My Unannounced Hiatus Ends (Summer Birds On 3rd Avenue)

Airports are jumbled places.

Once separated lovers collide at the baggage claim, mini Jack Daniel’s bottles clack and scrape as they are kicked across the tiled floor, and people move at breakneck paces as often as they move at molasses-like crawls, desperate to hold off the inevitable and inalienable comings and goings of existing. Airports are, in a strange way, the hubs of the human-universe; they are the melting-pot of all peoples and all the mundane and extremes that come with them. Stories ruminate, thoughts unwind, memories bombard and cave-in houses that have stood for decades, and boredom is at last given opportunity to be practiced. Persons yearn to leave or stay. Decisions are forced upon the usually passive and indifferent as flights are canceled or delayed, and waiting is forced upon those who can stand anything except waiting.

Several days ago, as I said goodbye to a dear friend at the airport, I found myself thinking rather out of the blue about how we all Exit and Enter many times throughout our lives, and how many instances one may have of entering a place and never coming out again, and how many times one may decide to exit from a relationship, place, or decision, and never go back. I thought about it and thought about it, and realized that in my own 29 years of life I probably couldn’t even recall every significant moment of Absolute Entering or Exiting, and the odds were that my life had far more insignificant things rather than significant ones, so I concluded maybe trying to quantify such a thing was a waste of cognitive space. Still though, I continued thinking about airports, and I wondered if you could bottle the energy of a place what airport-essence would look, smell, taste, sound and move like. I decided it would look like gasoline in rainwater, smell like a library, taste like sweat and umami, sound like the Amazon, in day and night, and would move like carpenter ants zigzagging single file under the illusion of uniformity, mindlessness, and unimportance. I thought about my friend a lot, and how his spirit, in a way, must in my mind contain some of the nature of spilled gasoline, a library, sweat and umami and the South American rainforest, a bit of him like a carpenter ant swiftly following the line. That also meant, their was something about my spirit that held those natures too. Airports, I then thought, weren’t really about planes and tarmacs, but people. People exiting and entering and spreading their dust around like mad comets, streaking long tails over the earth and sky.

Since my friend departed, I haven’t had much time (or compulsion really) to write. But, as with all things, bits started squeezing out here and there, lines and prose made their way onto notepads, napkins, dreams; letters spewed and arranged themselves in the steam of a coffee mug. So ends my unannounced hiatus from blogging.

So begins the jumble again. Thanks for being great readers.

Here’s the poem Summer Birds on 3rd Avenue – enjoy ♥


The days are an endless cavalcade of grey
But they shine like polished silver. Members
Of the Cult of Polar Opposites we stroll
Elbow and elbow down 3rd Avenue as
Summer birds on a mission to seize the horizon
In a swoop. We cup each others’ eyes and
Our hearts wallop one another in the
Encroaching ‘Knowing’ that five days from now
We shall part. 120 hours slip by without so much
A squeak. When the moment comes to catch
The E-line to University Way we march somber
As Vietnam veterans, our stomachs wiggling
In denial. On the Light-rail your torso lays
Across my lap like a penitent man eager for
His god to strike us with lightning. Past
West Lake and Beacon Hill and Tacoma we
Sail onward by the pull of unseen forces,
Gnawing our tongues raw we hesitate and
Drag our feet and imagine scenarios of thieves
Mugging us and brigands making away with
Our bags with glee. When we reach the escalator,
And release from our tight embrace, I watch you
Step upon the moving stair and I cry, “Ascend
Into heaven, Murphy! Goodbye!” I don’t know
Where you go exactly or what you do when
You get there. I linger, like a ghost, listening
To the soft clack and rhythm of everyone and
Everything continuing on and on and on until
At last I turn on my heel, and stride.
Determined. Certain. Without a shadow
Of a doubt perfectly fine. There is an
Enormous hallway before me with nothing
In it but garbled echoes. I give in. I cry so hard
A woman has to stop to ask if I’m alright.
I swallow, I say, “Oh yes, I’m alright. I just said
Goodbye to a dear friend.” She sends forth in a ray
The warmest smile. She hugs and kisses me. She says,
“How very lucky for them to have a friend like you.”
She rolls away into my memory, with a suitcase
Loud as a boulder and corkscrew curls.
The ride home I cry some more.
The sun comes out. Pigeons crowd me.
I come to my front door and sigh, and then
Collapse into the arms of another dear friend.
I have the thought I am the luckiest person alive.

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