For Phil Hayes 1964-1994
“I got your back.” I said
the night before that park
“Yours too.” he said
And drove in the dark.
I thought he could stop a speeding train.
I was wrong, and yet he’s now all these
Earth air fire rain, stronger than trees
Older than the memory of death, not
A body he inhabited, he’s gone from that
He’s where fire is before I strike a match
Where water lives before a desert storm.
I thought he could see the future, but no
He never saw the pistol in the hand, nor
Evil in the mind– We are all deaf, dumb
And blind and nothing cures our disease–
Karma is its own justice, I know, but how
He could so kick ass, yet not catch a bullet
And throw it back, is still beyond me–
He never saw it coming, nor did we.
Phil was a friend I knew from a Kung-Fu San-Soo class. He was in a public park one night when approached by an man who asked if he had a cigarette. When Phil said he did not, the guy shot him. The killer was never caught. No one knows why he killed Phil. I still remember Phil’s strength and sense of humor; how he would throw me across a room and help me up with a little chuckle. He lives on in our memories.