boatman view

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memory in part

 

The yearís celebration of American independence and freedom is over.  The hot dogs have been supreme and the fire works spectacular.  There was a little carnival set up in the park with a great merry-go-round.  I like to ride round and round sitting on the bench.  The horses are just too lively for me.  I feel no need to concentrate that much. 

 

Most days this month I am working, and meeting up with my friend.  We know each other professionally.  We liked each otherís work.  Both of us are appreciative of a real friendship with no worry of romance.  I admire her deep love and devotion to her husband.  He and I know and like each other.  They are secure in love, trusting and comfortable.  He needs no explanations from her and I have no one that wants me to explain anything.

 

I like being with her, and being included in this New Yorker scene.  In our version we favor ice cold Tab as we mix with our group de jour, no smoke for me other than the occasional Viceroy.  Alert and having fun, we devour conversation.  The occasional difference of opinion we might acknowledge is a threat to neither. 

 

Too early, my friend comes by my Waldorf room bearing gifts of coffee and pastries well before noon.  July is ended and this first day of August is starting a bit sooner than most days for me.  I get over it and on our way, she is telling me why this concert is important. 

 

My friend tells me how the Bangladesh Liberation War has left the new nation scarred and wounded, with huge refugee problems.  They are desperate people fleeing to get out of the way of bullets and madness.  Their simple goal is just to breathe and live. 

 

Hundreds of thousands of refugees looking for a promised land, families clutching to each other, grasping for hope.  Humans with nothing huddled on a scrap of earth.  People fleeing one hell, now feeling the anger of a cyclone, being soaked in unrelenting rains.  Ongoing flood waters of filth and death washing over them.  Bodies and minds wounded, untreated, sick, gasping for breath.  Human beings, just alive enough, are feebly pushing death away.  With wide-eyed stares looking, they are seeing nothing.  As if clawing the walls of a too deep pit, their lives sinking into darkness. 

 

Being independent and free is meaningless to them.  Free of anything to celebrate.  With no food, no shelter, they are wide-awake free in a humanitarian nightmare.  Desperately alone, free.  Free from reason.  With no world to care, they are nothing.

 

This is the story my friend is telling me.  She is very graphic.  The brutality of this human existence shocks my senses repeatedly.  I do not feel well as I listen.  On a level I cannot express, I know what she says is not exaggerated.  I weep.  Her calm telling is as gentle as this brutal truth allows.  I am shaking.  The significance of this dayís concert is clear.  She places it before me as if carefully handing me something delicate.  Holding this thinly pale slice of truth, I am lonely for my home.

 

We vigorously enjoy our freedoms and partake of all the sweet fruit.  Now enters this odd awareness of our social conscious, of being our brotherís keeper.   We know we are naked.  As naked as ye children of.