Monday, May 21, 2018

Fourteen Ways of Saying Goodbye

L to R: Dean of the College Suzanne Parker Keen, Deborah Miranda, Margo Solod.
First Martin Luther King Jr. March in Lexington, Virginia. 1/15/2017.
Fourteen Ways of Saying Goodbye

1.     Like a thunderstorm
you take charge. Fearless,
you speak your mind—
unapologetic as April.

2.     You move through time
and space like a magician,
fountainpen for a wand.

3.     You embrace
your Inner Mama, flaunt love
as if a child’s existence
were some glorious accolade,
an award made of blood and bone.
Because he is.

4.     You hone the art
of putting your name
right beside the face
of a Royal, going Total
Flaming Queen—
with style and aplomb.

5.     Your motto—
Don’t Be Stupid!
means follow your bliss,
make it work, find a way.
Use your brains to find
your heart’s desire.

6.    In a time when the patriarchy 
     gave women six weeks
     from delivery to return
     to the classroom, not a day
     more, you strode into the University 
     President’s office
like a legend, made him see
the light. “By the way,”
you footnoted your exit,
stage right:
“I’m still bleeding.”

7.     Everyone talks the talk.
But it’s you
at the first MLK March
in Lexington, Virginia.
In the cold. With TV cameras
and news reporters.
You walk the walk, decenter
the discourse with love.
You bring balloons.

8.      Ursula K. Le Guin says:
“People who deny the existence
of dragons are often eaten
by dragons. From within.”
You don’t just believe
in dragons—
you are the dragon.
We’re all a little crispier,
and wiser, for that.

9.     Never one to let sleeping dogs
lie, you wake them
with expletives straight outta
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—
arrows that pierce legal niceties,
electrify the heart
to a generosity of action.

10.  A woman of valor,
the world doesn’t make it easy
to walk in the knowledge
of your own value
but you do it
every day, like a spell
that requires repetition.

11.  Your magic is called
“Pronoia.” It means
you are a force
conspiring in our favor.

12.  Your magic is the ability
to reach further
than anyone
ever thought possible.

13.  Your magic is uncanny:
you re-invent reality.
You are a poet
on whom nothing
is lost.

14.  From you, we’ve learned
it is always necessary
to say Thank You.
It is never necessary
to say Goodbye.

You’re right here,
in our hearts.

Suzanne Parker Keen.
Misalaya kolo.                                    
Micha ene hikpalala.      

by Deborah Miranda & the Washington and Lee English Department
on the occasion of Dean Keen's departure to become Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College.  
May 21, 2018                      

1 comment:

  1. Such lovely and fitting tribute Deborah! When I thanked you yesterday, I was thanking you for speaking for all of us in a way many of us could never do.


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