Wednesday, February 16, 2005

For Laila Tamer-Morael

Would that you were not dead,
but that instead you'd faked
your death to live a life without
family pressure and the business
of art, or that you were living a
life of art in Brazil. Would that you
had never gone to Brazil, that the
Lebanese civil war had been less
bloody, that getting an EU passport
were easier, or harder, that
art was less about business, that
business had more art, that your
poems and paintings were not
hidden in the upstairs back
corner of your gallery in Paris
but towards the front, that you
had never gone back to Paris--
no, I can't imagine that Paris is
ever a bad idea, but would that
you had gone back to Paris, which
you did, but that you stayed long
enough for Mark and I (or maybe
just Mark) to come and tell
you that in years of students you
were maybe one of two or three
that actually gave a shit about
it enough to paint and write
and open a gallery, would that
rescue fantasies were not just
fantasies. No, would that they were
(and they are), that telling someone
who hates their self how little in
there self there is to hate despite
the fact that there is so much to
hate in the world could actually
stop hate. Laila, you're not even
the first of Mark's former students
to die in this way, and my high school
friends have been dying sad, cliched,
Christmas day head on collisions,
my niece or nephew miscarried at
six months, all my birds died last
year because they were born
in breeding factories. I suppose I'm
angry. Would that anger could
bring back the dead, or keep the
wrong dead from dying. It doesn't.
But if I were Edgar Allen Poe,
handsome, sad and melancholy in
a white cravat, I would write the
tale of your disappearance in Rio,
you ghostly reappearance in Paris,
or here in Washington, DC at one
of the more obscure memorials.