the bravest of all

With the encouragement of some dear friends here on WP, here is me reading “the bravest of all,” a verse I composed inspired by my past and by dear Allison Marie Conway from her beautiful collection Luminae.

Too timid these steps
as I cross over
pushing gently
through unseeing crowds
showering nothing of
the silence I crave,
fearful of the throng.

They dance and sway,
and I, staring at the sand
glistening around my feet
plead not with her
but with my own heart
for a chance to live
this one moment whole.

I see her standing there,
her back bare
beneath the adoring moon,
pursued by many,
loved so richly,
but by none so passionately
as by trembling me.

Which is perhaps why I turn
and trace my steps
back into the town,
the sounds of the players
fading behind me,
loathing once more
this poorly forged heart.

Coward that I am,
my hands shaking
as I order another drink
knowing all too well that
the bravest of all
are the ones
who feel everything.

19 thoughts on “the bravest of all

  1. Oh my god, George… this is so beautiful, luminous, and brave. I can feel the trembling, and the moon glow, and this line that you have closed with, one of my very most precious to me…. And you have Luminae… I can’t believe it, you are so wonderful…. I cannot wait to listen to your reading (I cannot just now)… soon, soon, thank you ever so much beyond.

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    • Thank you as ever, my dear Allison. Those lines–those words–that you wrote were just perfect. It is so interesting to me how easy it is for some to admire a larger piece of writing, as if it is quantity that mattered most, while they are dismissive of something — what? Less weighty? But your words struck me with such immense feeling. They summed up perfectly what we had only recently been discussing. Your words were exactly what I would have wanted to say.

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      • You say things like this and I die. On page 76 of Luminae is a piece called ‘wisdom.’ which reads ‘to say the hard things softly, without losing their weight.’ You chose the very word – weight. I wanted so desperately somehow to preserve the weight of the concept while removing the heaviness of the language – like feeling the exquisite burden of a feather upon skin, the unbearable imprint of a whisper. That little thought, concept, idea, poem, what shall we call it? – it was the cornerstone for the entire collection. Like a surgeon’s cut, like the sharpest eye peering, piercing clear out across the universe – what is the ultimate, truest truth, and what are the fewest words you can use to pull it from the ruble of the rest of what is unimportant. Hold it up. How terrifying and how sacred, at least that was my sincerest hope. And now, knowing this work is in your gorgeous hands, I cannot even believe how radiant she must feel. I am sorry to go on, I just want to say thank you. And also, to hear your voice reading what you shared, incorporating my own name, I wish I had the words to tell you how ecstatic that makes me. Also, also, the irony of the length of this message to speak of the value of using the fewest words is not lost on me. But you know how I am. You are so dear to me, George.

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      • Dear Allison, it astonishes me how much stronger my voice has become thanks to you and to all the incredibly inspiring works you write. How you do that still enchants and mystifies me, how you choose just the right words. And here am I, a thief, stealing those words, but I know how much you appreciate what I do with them. I adopt your creative spirit for moments at a time, and with it I sore so very high. Thank you, as always, for being you, my anam charaid.

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