Elegy for Jack Micheline
        March 1,1998

In the moment
between the in breath
and the out breath
death like an elevator shaft
without an elevator
can suck you into the darkness,
or into the light,
or into the tortuous fires of the mind.

The same mystery,
the same ambiguity
awaits us whenever
the breath stops -
during a meal,
at the wheel,
crossing a street,
making love,
and certainly making war
or even writing a poem.

Jack you left us here alone
while riding a train
as did Emmett Grogan,
and Neal Cassidy on the tracks
as if yearning for the train to come.

We are left alone now
to grapple with the demons of control,
alone without your third eye
uncovering the blessings
every one else had overlooked
or ignored or even despised.

The spirit was comfortable
in your poems poised
to leap upon our hindered minds
to reveal the beauty of the light
that is at the beginning and the end.

So often when you breathed out
speaking to us, it was with
frustration and anger at those
whose authority in every realm
limited and destroyed
our lives and culture.

And when you breathed in
somehow you filtered out
the poisons leaving a nectar
of revitalization that
flowed into your poems.

For you the losers of our world
were the winners in the true world.
And the winners of this petrified world
would be damned forever,
for their mercilessness and greed.

They were "the doggoned dead
who ruled the world"
We hope here
on our abandoned planet
that your purer vision
blazing through your poems
will ignite the remembrance
of the eternity bursting
through each moment
and each ennobled soul.