classmates and good ol’ drowning

stuck waiting for our teacher, we were forced to bond with one another. thus, there we were, twenty- and thirty-something students looking like refugees and scrambling for topics to sustain the conversation.

now i have a new gay friend from that same class. he asked for my surname, and he clarified: wait, sa iyo ba yung river poem sa free press website? i said: yes, sa akin. sabi niya, ang ganda, gusto ko siya.

the heavens opened up, the eternal truth’s hand reached out to help me ascend a la Constantine. i was poised to leave this hellhole…

ally mcbeal moment aside, i was giddy, and i said, thank you because this is the proper behavior to exhibit. suffice it to say that my river poem was well-received by both old and new friends, from people who count.

and my new gay friend also loves the writers i love: denise levertov, kay ryan (who’s a lesbian!), mary oliver (who’s also a lesbian!), and louise gluck, to name a few.

a sorta fairy tale for that day.


i’ve raved about this poem several times to friends, and i’ve posted this twice here on weight of words.

my reposting of this work by Stevie Smith is my homage to every one’s “dark place” because sometimes “[by] casting out the devils, you cast out the best thing that’s in you.” (F. Nietzsche [who else did you expect?])

Not Waving but Drowning
By Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

From Collected Poems of Stevie Smith. Copyright © 1972 by Stevie Smith. Source: New Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1988). Copied from


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