'For Kelvin,' by Jim Davis-Rosenthal




 Audience of One
for Kelvin

what is the name of the place without you, a place I walk but cannot call, a place lost its meaning, and you left, and left again? what do I shout to a wind so strong and cold, a summer biting rain, concrete forest, rivers held suspended, shocked, still? how do I end it, the charisma, the measure of worth and worth again, the weight of a young life, even younger, like a kitten as a cat, a gift to mourners, their singing voice returned? when will the meanness spill to that street, that river, the wind?

how do I mark these red days, more than seven, more than numbers, sugar-dust poured from you, counted, marked, measured, rare? how can a dedication moored with altars, rich with oils, candles lit and plenty, fruits watery and with the season of the world, and how, then, can this not be enough?

and it is not, because the work is also you, the masks, the cities, no matter how big, too small to hold you, the blush you brought to so many cheeks, the wonder to mine. the answer is always the same, but I will not hold it -- justice was too strong in you for that. no summary or column, nor sisterhood drawn in blood or stone, some things cannot be done, and still others shouldn't.

the final question rests with me. I could not sing for an audience of one, but you showed me the nurses, the clergy, the ache to cradle you, the way to love what I did not know was lost, you showed me a fight beneath the skin, and talked the full volume of your poetry then, that two hours, fierce. I heard.






 Elegy for Kelvin, text and image, © 1998 by Jim Davis Rosenthal

 Editors' Note: Kelvin Fitzgerald McNeill, age 28, was fatally injured while attending the Gay Games in Amsterdam. Kelvin was a keenly respected community-based and nationally-focused activist in Colorado, where he worked for justice for all peoples. His loss is suffered greatly, while his memory is proud and strong.



 Forward to Introduction to the STANDARDS Pride Issue
by Fanny Howe