In the spirit of celebrating tenderness, here is the last poem from Jason Shinder’s (1955-2008) Stupid Hope, which was assembled and published after he died from leukemia and lymphoma. I loved this raw collection when I first encountered it years ago and am grateful it recently found its way back to my bedside.
If there is no cure, I still want to correct a few things
and think mostly of people, and have them all alive.
I want a door opening in me that I can enter
and feel the clarity of evening and the stars beginning.
One after another, I want my mistakes returning
and to approach them on a beach like a man
for whom there is no division between one way or another.
My most faithful body, you are not in the best of shape,
far from the glitter of the river in which you once swam.
But I want good tears when I stand on the street
and, from the sky, drifts down the finest mist on my face.
Not everything is given and it should not permit sadness.
Let me keep on describing things to be sure they happened.