Dear Lee,

I just want to tell you,

I went to hear Persian poetry tonight ––

the first night you were dead ––

and as they read Hafez’ poetry

          of revolution, freedom and of love

I saw picture after picture

of the streets of Tehran,

people marching, waving signs ––

arms, wrists, fingers and heads,

sometimes their whole bodies wrapped in green cloths

signifying their determination

to recapture their tradition and put it into the service

of freedom and justice.

And I thought of the many streets

where you walked in your dedication to justice

and to love,

where you brought those stubborn candles

to relight them again and again

despite the wind’s attempts to quench them ––

the streets of the Philippines, of El Salvador,

every street where the dispossessed struggle for justice.

I remember the streets of Port au Prince

where we saw the people in their hope

repair bicycles with scraps from the trash heap

build trailers from axles of old cars

and create from cinder blocks

a one room school house,

where President Aristide’s picture hung beside

a simple painted blackboard

like the ones our grandmothers must have written on.

Those streets, and the streets of San Francisco,

          Fort Benning, Oakland, Livermore and Hayward

all these streets mourn your absence

but still your footsteps echo there

your witnessing eyes record

the story of the struggle

you bring to share.

with love,
July 29, 2009