You are sorely missed, my friend.
Lesson learnedOn the occasion of Phil Miller’s Memorial Tribute and Open Mic
Sunday April 10, 2011, Kansas City, Missouri
I said goodbye to a dear friend today,
but not for the last time. Whenever
I hear him say, “You need something here,”
“It’s not there yet,” “Every poem has to have
a turn, where’s the turn?”
it will be a fresh goodbye. Phil scoffed
at my ignorance of nature, my inability
to identify wildflowers or name more
than a few insects, which he put down
to my country origins, but he respected
my wide reading. We shared tastes
for Bjork and Blake, differed
on Henry James and Beethoven.
Now and then I’ll view a field or read
a book with his eyes, listen to music
with his ears, for another sharp goodbye.
I’m learning, not for the first time, the truth
he told in so many poems, that loss
is the one thing we keep,
that goodbyes do not end.