Monday, March 15, 2010

"Angels and Saints" (for ronnie burk, 1955-03)

ronnie burk at MySpace


for ronnie burk

Ronnie, they never knew you,
knew the volcano that was you
the Maui Zowie of your wizardry.
Ronnie, they never knew you,
knew the glue that was you
pasting it all together into a collage
of our shredded lives. They never knew
the fine art of you, the fire out
of you. You were the first outlaw.
You were the first out.
You were the first to get sick, the first
to heal us all with your words.
You were the first figure of the barrio.
You, the you they never knew,
what was slammed into the frame
of a not-nice picture. They never knew
the Tejano you, the hick wit you,
the sophisticated lit you, the grinning
through the bite of teeth you.
You were the first, ronnie,
to act out, to act up, to take
your heart into the streets.
You were at home here, ronnie, and
at Spirit with the voice of the sea.
You were a fathom too long,
a galaxy too far, a feeling
too close for the noose.
Ronnie, they never knew you,
knew the passion fruit nopal
that was your prickled heart,
never knew how they locked you
out on the balcony in your underwear
in the icy 'Bur'que night , and
left you there, a sleepless poet
before his first Floricanto. (Where
was la Unidad then, vatos?) Ronnie,
they never knew the real you. They knew
your loving but they never knew
your love. Ronnie, they never
knew you, the loco you, the brujo
you, the you you let loose in the crystal
madrugada. They never knew you.
But I knew you, ronnie. I know.
How well you did know
us then.

Lorna Dee Cervantes
San Francisco


I'm remembering ronnie this fifth year anniversary of the blog. Ronnie was the impetus for beginning it, for writing for and to and of The Dead, beginning with ronnie. I'm remembering ronnie, too, or rather, he comes to me when I need him, holding my hand as I once clasped his in my own, trying, somehow to pass my strength on to him, to keep him on the planet just a little while longer, just so I could keep hearing those marvelous things coming out of that beautiful head. He was as close to a "Soul Mate" I've ever experienced, my in lak ech, my other I. I saw my beauty in him. Please join me in remembering him this 7th year of his passing. Remember all the Billie Holliday songs you can think of, and sing them loud with us: heartfelt; that's the only way ronnie knew to do things, con ganas. Gracias, ronnie, for our interesection. It was an honor to publish your 1st book. 

You can read what I wrote then "The Dead Reux; Or, Remembering ronnie burk" You can also just search this blog for his name.

I'm staring out at the Pacific ocean he so loved, remembering him speaking of the ocean speaking to him once on a ship across Hawaii, how it called out to him for help, for salvation. He spoke of a lifeless swirling widening hole of dead sea that the ocean was showing him. "I'm dying," it said. That was decades before the scientists found a dead hole the size of Texas off the coast near Hawaii.

His advice to young poets: "Learn the mysteries of your ancestors. Go to the root, and you will be blown away at what you find."

"To feed the planet we'll probably all have to quit eating meat." ~ ronnie burk

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Blogger RC said...


16/3/10 11:33  
Blogger Middle Ditch said...

Beautiful, he sounds as if he was a real nice guy.

20/3/10 08:00  
Blogger Radish King said...

Beautiful. Sorry about your friend. And happy anniversary for your blog.

20/3/10 14:51  

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