Poetry

Cento for Neil Peart

Imagine a time when it all began;
I’m young enough to remember the future.
Somewhere out of a memory–

Well I was only a kid, cruising around in a trance,
In a world where I feel so small,
A world of indifference;
I felt the gloom of empty rooms
Closed for my protection.

You call me, you call me…

I hear your passionate music,
Read the words that touch my heart;
There’s something here that’s as strong as life;
Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty —
More things than are dreamed about
In the mass production zone.

I hear, hear the wordless voices:
You can almost see the circuits blowing,
Emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength.
Sound and fury drowns my heart;
Mystic rhythms capture my thoughts, carry them away:
Art as expression, not as market campaign.
The underlying theme:
Love responds to imagination,
Dreams tranport desires,
Come explore your dreams’ creation.

Signal transmitted, message received:
It’s my turn to drive
Anywhere — anywhere but here.


I’ve traveled now for many miles;
Days connect like boxcars in a train,
Illusions are painfully shattered.
I don’t understand all these conditions,
Too tender hearts upon our sleeves;
Every soul a battlefield.
Stratospheric traces of our transitory flight
Show me beauty but there is no peace.
When I think about all I have seen
With all the things I can’t explain
I feel the way you would —
Like a shipwrecked mariner adrift on an unknown sea.

Sometimes I fly into the night.
As the red tide kisses the shore,
I can feel your presence;
It’s a smile on the edge of sadness.
Though it’s just a memory, some memories last forever

I wish that I could live it all again.

As the years went by, we drifted apart.
Too many hands on my time.
If I could only reach that dial inside;
The hours tick away, tick away;
The writer stares, with glassy eyes.


One night we are bathed in light:

When I heard that you were gone,
Washed away like footprints in the rain —
Spontaneous emotion
Changes how the world appears;
Reality withdraws
Like a million little doorways.

The night is turning thin;
You can hear the buildings cry.
With love in the land of the living,

I feel your presence —

No hero in your tragedy,
Just another dreamer who was going too far;
The bridge of death was crossed.
A wave toward the clearing sky;
The water takes you home;
There’s nothing to stop you now —

Oh sweet miracle of life,
It’s a far cry from the way we thought we’d share it:
A struggle to exist, to resist
We each pay a fabulous price;
It slips between your hands like water.
The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect;
But even love must be limited by time.
We can only bow to the here and now.
Life is just a candle, and a dream
Let us not go gently —

I remember—

The time is now again.
Read the words that touch my heart —
Freeze this moment a little bit longer —

Beneath the deep white silence,
Like a teardrop in the ocean
Suddenly —
you were gone.


Omar Willey was born at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital in Seattle and grew up near Lucky Market on Beacon Avenue. He believes Seattle is the greatest city on Earth and came to this conclusion by travelling much of the Earth. He is a junior member of Lesser Seattle and, as an oboist, does not blow his own trumpet. Contact him at omar [at] seattlestar [dot] net