You gave me life

I don’t remember where this came from.  It’s something tucked in among the reams of paper I have from the last 3+ decades.  There are a few notes in the margin that shed a bit of light on it.

This is from when I was struggling most with who I was versus who I was trying to be.  During that extremely painful struggle, I met someone who turned out to be the most influential person in my life — both before and since that time.  Although it took me a few more years to truly come to terms with myself and realize it was time to stop fighting what I had absolutely no control over, I made tremendous progress because of this person.  Having gone through the same thing I was experiencing, I found his experience and friendship invaluable.  As fate would have it, though, our journey together was not to last forever.  He was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and, because the disease was not even manageable at the time, died less than a year later as opportunistic infections ravaged his body.  His name was Roger.

you came to me in darker times
when days were one by one the same
crowds and white-hot pavement
deprivation held me hostage
and all my poetry though young
would sing of death and worlds of pain
and as I sang within my chains
I hoped for more
but nothing came
until I least desired it
and there it was
the unexpected turn
you were life to me
where once life had no hold
and suddenly the gray of dawn
took on your splendor
crimson, then gold
and on and on
I dreamed those fire-lit mornings
of a time when all unspoken things
could come to light
and you would know my soul
I then watched in awe
as night after night
your laughter filled the air
awash in love
the spotlight of my gaze
the laughter is over now
your light grown cold
as mine once was
and I would give my life
to bring you back from eternity’s front door
to strike a deal with spirits dark
your soul for mine
to see you live again
I cannot force the breath
from your soul
nor free your heart to fly
but there are friends
many of them
who wait and ask not why
they wait for what we know
is neither mine to take
nor mine to give
they wait for you to find the ground
beneath your feet
a life to live
and when it comes to pass
as I am sure that someday it will
I’ll give you back the nearest fraction
of the love
with which my cup you filled
so suffer long you might
and know that I am here
and I shall surely stay
to bid you welcome
take you home
give you heart to light your way
I come as a loving friend
to help you stand
to help you rise
I come to give to you
all you have given to me
I come to help
lift you to the skies

[I can’t claim this is my work; I’m not sure who wrote it, although it has many signs that it could have been something I wrote with heavy or cursory inspiration from another work; I just don’t know because all I have is a piece of paper with some personal thoughts of Roger scribbled in the margin; circa 1990]

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