August 9 – Five Years Later – Inked

by Brittany Kirby on August 23, 2013

Time passes, and as promised, wounds do heal.  A Bit. Recently my Dad heard of yet a third person with a tattoo involving Jimmy’s writings, and this timing coinciding with our momentous anniversary, created some serious tattoo envy.  So when we gathered at the beach to toast our Dearest Jimmy, Casey unveiled the work of the previous night; which  gave quite an upbeat punch to our  afternoon. The tattoo is the title of a poem Jimmy wrote to a friend after they ran a marathon, and is in his own handwriting.  Nicely Done. We find the last stanza powerfully prophetic.

 

Suffering Is The Only Honest Work       March  2007

 

Rich lay flat in the tall grass,

and you had a reason to run.

I’d stay with the writhing wounded,

Come help or a mountain lion.

 

Hope against panic, this was real,

A chance to make use of our bodies,

A chance to be men in the flesh.

 

And the joy in your step

As you bounded away

Took with it the shame of my joy.

 

We bonded in the fracture of a collarbone.

 

II.

Suffering is the only honest work,

Pain’s wail the only song whose words

Can’t be gargled in the cynic’s throat,

Reduced to truth, then spat to the walls,

Bitter karaoke…

 

Thus, pain is irreducible, pain is true,

Suffering the only honest work…

False wisdom!  You showed me otherwise,

On the run…

 

Mile seventeen-point-two…

I can’t go on!

Seventeen-point-four…

My lips are cold and the sun is warm.

Seventeen-five…

The wall, the wall, the fucking wall!

Seventeen-six…

No more! I can’t! Not any more!

(As six more steps plod the asphalt)

 

Interrogate the body!

Purge it of its false intelligence!

 

III.

That the flesh is deceitful

Is divine consolation,

And in periods of keenest pain

I’ll know that I’ve run through walls,

That doubt is a bad idea,

And this death not even a trailhead

On the endless loop through ourselves;

That when my body lies flat in the tall grass,

The rest of me bounds up the hill.

photo-47

The symbol represents eternal connection.

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