Posts Tagged ‘Jack Mueller’

Dear Jack




it was a little too quiet last night

at the poetry reading, though we heckled

as if we were you,

but our interruptions were mere imitation,

they missed the gravel of your voice

and the bedrock of your conviction

and the growl of your disdain,

your love like a weed I learned to want.


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Think about it, wrote Wendy.

There’s no such thing as a fish.

She explained how the word


is a catch all for species

that do not hail from the same source,

they just happen to live in the water.


And I think about how we use any word—

as if to name is to know. This is a fish, we say.

This is a friend. This is moon. This is shadow.


And this is love, a word

we sometimes toss from our tongues

as if it were ketchup or curtain,


cranberry, lichen or crane.

There’s no such thing as love,

I think. It’s a catch all for these unclassifiable feelings


we don’t know how to name.

(                ), wrote Jack,

and I wanted to write it back to him


in exactly the same way, but with words—

some glorious, speakable phrase

that might say how grateful I am


to swim together in the same water,

in this precise time, in this precise place,

and how his words make it easier


to be grateful for life, easier to attune

to what we are—not fish. Not moons.

Not tables. Not shadows,


but communities of trillions

and trillions of cells that co-exist, who knows why,

all of us spilling out of our parentheses.


Well, Jack, though it’s hard to improve on blank,

I love you, even if there’s no such thing.

Or as you might say, I luff you, I loof you,

and I love, too, your words, which are never just words—

love how they never point to anything,

not really, and how they mean everything.

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