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Friday, December 17, 2010

For Wayne Dean Parkinson, travel safe and well, brother...

Letter To A Young Writer Who Danced With Words

(you never have to say you are sorry to me)

it was those strange days of summer before fall

on the first day of kindergarten

everything is overwhelming then as the stage is being set

awkwardness is the norm and anyone too graceful is suspect

life has changed so much for both of us since that day

you were graceful to the point it would work against you

as the progression of time went on

you seemed to know more than the rest of us

talk more clearly and concise

like an adult, not like a kid

you were at ease in conversation

speaking on topics when the rest of us

were still "la la la la la"

I marveled at you immediately, I remember

I watched as your ability was transmuted into

the strange social astigmatism that made most of us

the least popular for whatever reasons

we began to talk about books and reading

back in the first grade

we did well on tests

became more ostracized by that

we went to cub scout meetings

learned about the strangeness of adults

got to see what crazy really looked like up close

as the world became secret and open dualities

alternating on a strange rhythm that we could almost decipher

I started checking out by nine years old

it was safer for me there in the middle of violent turbulence

than the world of pleasing teachers and applying myself

the way you did it so well

I would always tell you that I admired your resolve

fuck what those "cool" kids say to us

the stoner loser and the brainiac nerd

we looked at the world differently together

we shared discoveries in music and art as I went unbridled into

the streets of run down hollywood bringing stories of my

long weekend exploits to the A/V room where you had class

where I liked to ditch class and hide reading rolling stone

and making reel to reel mix tapes of music we had discovered

we played pirate radio over school loudspeakers at lunchtime

dr. scott would tell us stories of japanese concentration camps

where he learned buddhism and to forgive his captors

you became subversive at the school newspaper

printing stories about central america and revolution

without the authorities approval

you always spoke of rights for people who were not represented

you always would champion a cause that was just

you always wanted to be a voice of reason

in a stormy sea of unreasonable humanity

you informed me of thoughts and ideas

that were way ahead of their time

most of all what stood out to me

was you were always willing to

put it all on the line, everything

for what you believed in

I went away for awhile

but saw you again one day in riverside

at the university

I was crashing the scene

come to rape and pillage the academy

you were excelling beyond expectation

overtaking the ramparts of intstitutionalism

I heartily cheered you on as you had developed

your own language within the system

the same way you always had before

but, now it wasn't kids stuff


I told you to look me up

if you came out west to LA

but you seemed committed to the area

until we crossed paths again in frisco

you gave me and my companion

shelter as we traveled

I was always running from something

or to somewhere

but for a week we just rambled

art shows, punk shows, coffee shops

drinking and dancing in castro bars

my girlfriend passed for a boy

so I blended right in


the santa bear tied to my car's front grill

was stolen

you stated it was liberated by a faction

of activist bears that took it personal

we laughed about it all

we pushed ideas to their limits

we just missed each other later

in the streets of old calcutta and howrah

reunited years later in the mission district

you played music as the belly dancers danced for us

we ate food on pillows like fake rajas

you told my fortune from the grounds

of my overturned coffee cup

you looked me in the eyes

it was serious as I laughed

you had begun to believe in something

that I did not quite understand

my only higher power was manufactured

in burrough's outerworld of lost souls

I kept my god's in baggies

weighed them very carefully

you had become transcendent

in conflict with your own power

I cannot remember my fortune as you told it

I did not believe in fortune being told

but, fortune is still there for us to share

and I shared what I could from

my endless supply of baggies

until I had to run for my life

as I usually do


years would pass away

until one day these electric lines

crossed our paths again

I was so glad to see you, old friend

many miles and much time had separated our paths

we shared our words again

revisited our memories

all the way back to five years old

we talked of being grateful

of doing new works, new ideas

you spoke of struggling with inner conflicts

that I recognized in myself

(you always strove for such perfection

that it seemed to cause you suffering)

I shared your work with others

I believed in its merit as I always will

it will always bring me hopefulness

we conquered many things to get this far

I know in my heart you might have gone farther

but I know it is as far as you could go

in that moment

as the meat puppet monkey

that we both talked of seeing in the mirrors reflection

helpless, as we always felt we were or we had become

to change anything

to stop anything from overtaking this fragile form

this form of the world of a dancer dancing in circles

the form we so loved to watch in the dance of any dance

done to any music that would move a body to extreme

I know it difficult for dancer's to age gracefully

few ever do in true happiness

it is sad to think you turned in your dance card so soon

but I will never forget you, old friend, the way the greatest dance

was always the light in your eyes

always involved the unmitigated intensity of your thoughts

of your pure desire to affect a change

in the choreography of the world

your frustration at its most perverse complications

your hopeless moments that you took in alone

one too many times

with that idea to just stop it

to just stop the dance

to turn off the music

just because

it can be tiring


you were tired

one time too many

so rest now

until we meet again

I believe in your fortunetelling abilities

now and forever

so I will always believe in you, too


Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving us a glimpse of Wayne in his younger years. You described him just as I would have imagined him to be. Thoughtful, interested and different, in a very refreshing way.

We'll miss you Wayne ... we already do.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful picture of a young, happy Wayne.
When I think of Wayne I will think of this happy little, seemingly content face.

I worked at UCSF with Wayne. He was such an interesting, caring, generous, incredibly generous person. I wish there were more people like Wayne who genuinely cared about the world around him.

His leaving has made me very sad, but I know he must be enjoying the journey of a lifetime right now and if he could write a story about it I would love to read it.
Peace be with you, Wayne, peace be with you.

Miss Kincaid said...

When I was 16, and lost in a foreign land, I met Wayne. He was also 16, but didn't seem as lost as I was.

We exchanged snail mail letters for many years -- and his letters were full of ... well, Wayne. The poetry, the compassion, the passion, the insights...all were uniquely Wayne. I have kept most of them, as they are priceless.

I am sad to hear that Wayne has slipped the mortal coil, especially of his own accord. I am sure he had his reasons -- but I cry for our collective loss just the same.