The Fourth or Fifth of July

It’s upsetting enough to hear about

the murder of someone I didn’t know

well but who seemed to matter –

a man who called himself

Sudharman and helped me see things

could change, that I could

go from being a navy

seal perhaps to someone

who helped, someone who stretched

everyone more than they wanted

to be stretched.

Fuck the guy who killed him

part of me says – but who knows

what he did, what either of them

did.  Who knows the suffering

unleashed by the smallest

gesture.

This poem, that slight.

Already you may want

to kill me.  Who knows?

Commentary:  Sudharman’s murder shook the whole community.  He left my neighbor’s house the evening of July 4th and was found shot to death in his apartment the next day.  The man who killed him wrote about his plan to kill Sudharman and did very much what he announced he would.  I didn’t know Sudharman well but always felt seen in his presence; I’ve studied yoga and I know the benefit of stretching ourselves beyond our resistance.  I’m struck by how we, all of us, harbor such contradictory impulses – the guru and the navy seal – and how little we know of our motivations or the effects of what we bring to the world.

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