Bravo. May there be another fifty years for all of the world's Samuels to come alive and walk our paths and drink in our waters and embrace all of the kindness previously unknown.
The stories we tell about those of us in the margins. How we are only known by our people, our lives, our history...
The pain and joy of remembering seem an odd couple in being human. Thank You
Such a haunting account, and in the best ways. Since initially reading it, I’ve been thinking about the name Samuel. The name seems to come to us from two Semitic verbal roots grounded in the profound notions of hearing and of placement. Hearing, as admonition: Shm’a Yisrael, “Hear, O Israel”, hear--the Lord our God, the Lord is _one_”, an important hearing in cultures of polytheistic belief and practice. Hearing, as petition and obedience: “Speak, O Lord, for your servant is hearing You”. Hearing, as fulfillment: Hannah prayed to God to give her a child, and God placed Samuel in Hannah’s womb. Here, it was God who was listening to the petitioner, and God responded positively, ￼so that Shm’a came to be associated with God’s placing someone, even something, in the just and intended location.
All these are heartbreaking notions, thinking of your handsome, hilarious, lost cousin Samuel. What calls was he hearing when he hitched off the rez? Where was he placed? Where is he now? On the way there, what were his responses to perceived calls? What did he think, how did he feel, what did he do? Where did he go?
These are questions I will be asking myself as I journey from Epiphany, glory revealed, to Lent, character defined. I truly do venerate your cousin Samuel and likewise thank you for placing these issues front and center. I don’t know what sort of spirit workings energize or energized Samuel’s heart, but pray he may “rest in peace and rise in glory”, whatever that may mean for him.
Lost a friend to AIDS in my mid-twenties. I think about him a lot. Each new phase of my life--good or bad--I'm like: he didn't get to go through this.
This needs to be published more widely.
Thanks for sharing Samuel. He is alive❤️
Yep, agreed he seems capable, but when you listen to his political commentary, it's not particularly astute or in any way creative. Plus his affiliations are off-putting, like Mitch McConnell. Unfortunately I'm addicted to CNN and listen to him a bit too frequently...plus I'm a tad biased on what strikes me as astute commentary. Not that I'm correct and they are not, though! Just biased and probably to my detriment.
So many things to be depressed and furious about. All our lying history. Thank god you keep the spirits alive. The white supremicist lying republicans don’t help. To the contrary, they suck ard are stupid to boot. I hope Samuel is in a beautiful forest somewhere.
Please keep interrogating the world and distilling what you learn into words that break hearts open.
I receive emergency texts and emails from my county on a regular basis. When I got multiple alerts about a missing white woman from Piedmont, a wealthy city that's entirely surrounded by Oakland, I thought, "That figures". But when I learned that a toddler had disappeared from East Oakland at about the same time--and I didn't learn about that until his body was found, I didn't--and still don't--have words for the rage, grief and sense of WTF???
Never stop interrogating the world. It is your song and your search that keeps Samuel alive. You have been given this rare gift of poetry to animate him.. It doesn't compensate for the years that were stolen from Samuel and the pain he lived with but it makes it possible to cast his beautiful spirit forward tp generations who can never know him and to igiite the memory of him in those who remember.
I've read the poem several times this morning and listened to your reading, and it just gets more beautiful. It happens that last week, or maybe a few days go, I heard a political commentator on CNN ( Scott Jennings) a Republican regular on their panels), use the term "off the reservation". I wear hearing aids, so I thought I possibly misheard him, but unfortunately I didn't. He said that phrase in the context of its usual, archaic meaning—someone going outside of their socially acceptable boundaries...where they are not supposed to be. I am still in shock. I haven't heard that reference in many decades, maybe not since I watched a John Wayne movie as a kid. Some may think my outrage is superficial, but I'll cling to the belief that it's rather substantive, particularly as its concept might relate to your poem.
Thanks, Sherman. This is comforting—knowing there is someone caring, watching, witnessing our existence.
Beautiful...keep the stories and spirits alive!