Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Born in the Year of the Dragon (Poem)

Born in the Year of the Dragon

      for Josh Burdette

You slept with dragons
without eyes, your chest,
your arms, that broad back

their shelter, semi-covered lair.
Who knew a man with silver
horns in his nose studied

the Chinese zodiac, believed
in legends no one tells sitting
amid the flash of downtown's

ink shops? You made choices,
you said, marked your skin
over and over with the sign

of the year you drew your first
breath — yang to snake's yin.
Hundreds of hours you spent

making your body a showcase,
the artists with their irons
careful to avoid the tangents

that deprive each spirit animal
space to roam your 340 pounds
free on six-foot four-inch frame.

You did security, checked ids,
made the bands feel welcome,
gave in to no temptation but

the tattoos and the piercings.
A guy with a psych degree, you
didn't get to finish your story.

You always intended to give
them eyes, to let them waken
to leave you when you died.

© Maureen E. Doallas
_______________________________

Today's poem, offered for this month's tattoos theme at TweetSpeakPoetry, is inspired by a recent Washington Post article about Josh Burdette, "security doer" for Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club. Sadly, Burdette died September 1 at the age of 36. (A subsequent article indicates Burdette took his own life.) An honors graduate with a degree in psychology, he was a giant of a man and, as he himself said, "physically hard to forget". I was so taken by the details of his story, especially his choice of image to cover his body. I hope I have through my poem celebrated what really made this man large.

13 comments:

Louise Gallagher said...

I think you did beautifully -- and I think... even if his dragon's eyes were not put on when he died, he will know you saw them, and in your seeing, they have been given eyes.

Claudia said...

sleeping with dragons without eyes - you start this with a bang.. and you really made me curious to read his story.. fascinating..

Claudia said...

sleeping with dragons without eyes - you start this with a bang.. and you really made me curious to read his story.. fascinating..

grapeling said...

Josh wrote without paper, too. A moving and telling tribute. ~ M

Kate Mia said...

That took me back to my brother in law who not too long ago gave his eyes2...sorry for your loss..if I am reading that correctly...dear.

Björn said...

A captivating story you tell.. it pulls me in already in the first stanza... really cool

mrs mediocrity said...

What a fascinating story... so sad and yet, somehow you captured the spirit of the dragon.

Ken Higginson said...

Interesting and sad. Reminds me of someone I knew once. Enjoyable and well written.

kkkkaty said...

Thanks for sharing this true story of a young man gone too soon...superbly honoring him.

Margaret said...

I have a feeling he would have loved this!

Margaret said...

I have a feeling he would have loved this.

Lyla Willingham Lindquist said...

Beautiful, Maureen.

He didn't get to finish his story. Or then again, in a way, maybe he did.

Mystic_Mom said...

Well done! Very good piece.