Writing

Where is Daisy?

Where is Eric? So many come and go. Fast friends lost.

Where is Ruanda? I asked that a few years back. Has anyone heard from Ruanda?

“Oh, honey, she died.”

We were supposed to go to the aquarium together. She had invited me, with a big smile on her face. We had become friends just weeks before. I first met her when she visited the Path with Art choir one day.

At the big gala opening of the awesome new art space, which was attended by many and a lot of fun, by the way, I had a similar conversation.

“We should get her involved again. We should do something with her.” I was talking about a teaching artist that another teaching artist had mentioned.

“She died last year.”

Again with this!? I never seem to get the memos.

I easily lose track of time. I do not know why. It is a strange part of my makeup. I shutter myself away in my own little world.

She was a force. I could tell when first meeting her. I have read more about her life, including her work as an artist and a mother. She was definitely a force. I am sad that future collaborations are no longer possible, at least on this earthly realm.

I have a dream that a circle of us students, or participant artists as they now call us, come together to write cards to those who go missing for whatever reasons — moving, working, living. I want to keep in touch with those of my friends who go missing from our community.

By the way, where is Michael?

Poetry · Writing

The Color of Freedom

“The Color of Freedom” by Michael J. O’Connell
A Soldier’s Perspective on the American Revolution

Over us did break the April sun, warmth penetrating the depths of our cold, miserable existence.

Months have seemed to drift, no rush by like the great Father Time tossing sand into the gale.

The ache in me is still, having rationed our morning meal of biscuits, and, for a fortunate few, dried legumes.

My coat, in disrepair for lack of thread,
my boots, endless miles have they tread
until neither mind nor body could comprehend.

Wasn’t it just last year, or before
when I felt this same shining orb upon my back while nesting the precious harvest
into the warm Spring earth?

Time has erased these as well, as the keeper of all things has seen that it is only forward, where the sands still cling to the
fragile glass that my mortality lay.

No matter, I keep my mind at ease.
For it is more than I, or the thousands with me, for whom I lay down my existence.

And if I grow weak for the cause, or slip it from my mind
as the lead surrounds me.

I turn towards that rising sun, and over its brightest hue, least I ever forget, shines the Red, the White, and the Blue.

Copyright 2022 Michael J. O’Connell

From the artist: “I wrote this original poem upon learning that my wife has ancestors who fought in the American Revolutionary war. Having been a soldier, I wanted to express my thoughts and feelings on the sacrifices that they made to give us our own nation and homeland.”

Michael O’Connell is a Path with Art Ambassador and Veteran Participant Artist