I Took A Picture Of Your Name.
After so many years, seeing it again on the screen,
I took a picture of your name.
Not written by your hand,
it had a strangeness–
featureless, revealing nothing.
It had no voice,
Out there sharing itself with the world,
it has formed a wall around
that intimacy it birthed when you took my hand in yours,
using your name to pull me closer,
powerless against its strength on your tongue.
Everyone wanted to share a part of what made you you,
but I only wanted to be with you, back when,
scrawled in your careless hand,
you were written on my soul.
Wanting to be perfect for you,
remembering that tattoo you traced across my back.
Your name and mine.
“Always,” you wrote.
My trip to Guanajuato with my nephew Ryan was wonderful–just about as perfect as it could be. Since I was 49 when he was born and living two thousand miles away, we had never really spent any time together, other than 4 short overnight visits I’d made to their house enroute to other places or for graduations or other celebrations, and he was always a kid with the other kids, I an adult with the other adults. This was our first meeting as adults and with an entire week to get acquainted, we walked and looked all day and talked all night. Ryan did fine taking in the sights with people about fifty years older than him and formed a particular bond with one member of the group–a bit of a rascal at 76–really a kid who never grew up. Ryan was actually better behaved than this man who could serve as the pattern for a trickster.
As our tour bus pulled into Ajijic at the end of our four-day tour, Ryan asked for his name and information so he could send him this photo I’d taken of the two of them. I pulled out pencil and paper, but the man had his own phone in his hand with his contact information on it as he was spelling out his name so I could copy it , so Ryan merely reached over, clicked his phone over his, and said, “I’ll just take a picture of your name and look you up on Facebook.”
“I Took a Picture of Your Name” popped into my mind as a wonderful beginning line for a poem and although the resultant poem is not about them and has nothing to do with our trip, here is a photo of them in recognition of the fact that their overheard conversation was really the prompt for the first poem I’ve written in five days. My Internet-less vacation is over, but I’m going to try to remember the lesson it taught. Less time on the computer. More time out in life. Ryan and I are already planning our next adventure. I’ll show some photos later after he’s gone.