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For Nathan, Upon Departure


What started w/ gray binders sitting Indian-style in the old Glass Impact never ends.

The language is the language & no one cares about your accent, about being bilingual.

Everyone cares.  Everyone wants to speak a universal language the way music speaks.

Year in & out, the walkway is moving, departure arrival departure.  Everyone moving.

I didn’t know what I was talking about ten years ago at Glass Impact.  & I still don’t.

When I know I know what I’m talking about, I’m usually speaking in music to a friend. 

Usually a friend departing arriving departing.  I’m not sure I speak any other language. 

Year in & out, ten times over & across an ocean, you sit Indian-style & care outwardly. 

Everyone misses somebody, but not everyone can find the language to say how much.

You are right to keep moving, to what to find out to what degree we speak the same. 

Ten languages or none, universal music is out there, in smoke & glass, across an ocean.

Make space in the gray binder salt folds for everyone between where you’re going & here.         
Posted 12/28/12
This poem was written for, and dedicated to, my former Metro Arts apprentice and friend Nathan McDowell, upon his departure from the Quad Cities to teach ESL in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Say hi to Nathan at truantinwuhan.blogspot.com/ Note: Glass Impact was a glass arts studio in downtown Rock Island, IL. It is long out of business, and it was the storefront that hosted Metro Arts in 2004 when I was lead artist, where I met Nathan.
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