"Lifeline" – 4/07/2020
(for John Prine)

I just found myself saying to someone I love:
"Life has never been fair, but the illusion of
Fairness was at least more convincing"

When you can point to a person though
Whose ability to paint souls with brushes
Of specificity so unyielding that we weep just

Remembering the way they impacted the canvas
Reality's depiction entering our bloodstream
Collectively sounding five-alarm fires of humanity

Then you have lived a radically meaningful life
You have done what you were born to do empirically
Refining each chapter of revelation's unremitting hue

With craft as much as a constant waking-to wherein
Beads of sweat become shimmering evidence
Of life's bold, gritty, unbecoming gruesomeness

Beauty from sorrow melody from disparity
Who else imbued tragedy with so much generosity
Thrusting truth down from pure imagination's insensitivity

To new depths of grace beneath rhapsodic indignity
Legendary in spite of being brilliantly unassuming
Masterfully underscoring injustice's unrelenting enmity