(Need a prompt? "Outer limits" -- you don't have to use those words.)
Dave Holt, relocated to the Bay Area from Toronto, Canada, his place of birth, to follow his dream of becoming a successful songwriter. He is English/Irish and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indian from his mother’s side and he volunteered to serve the American Indian community in California for several years. Dave graduated from S.F. State University’s Creative Writing program (M.A., 1995). He is a winner of several poetry prizes including the Thomas Merton Foundation’s Poetry of the Sacred prize and a Literary/Cultural Arts award for his book Voyages to Ancestral Islands. In 2016, he was published in Red Indian Road West, an anthology of Native American Poetry from California.
Straddling the High Beams of Anderson Bridge
Looking into the moral chasm I escaped,
drugs, drinking, and nights of cruelty,
staring down into murky water,
run, River, run past the damage done,
with you, Rob, my too easy-going friend,
eaten alive by the emptiness.
Someone had to cut your wasted body down,
devoured by the void while I escaped.
Got away by following my angels,
just as I’d done since childhood,
out of the trash-filled alleyways,
where one forgotten flower bloomed.
Partnering with someone, Rob,
loving, being loved, that’s what saved me
from the end of the rope.
I walked through this abyss with you, remember?
You dared me to cross over the unfinished bridge
across Oakville’s river, to walk the concrete beams
and steel bars, looking down between our feet
from that height to fast water below,
nothing between us and the moving current
but our nerve and our quick-beating hearts.
I’d be afraid to do it now.
Back then we were practicing courage.
I used it to break away from there,
but you, who dared me traverse
the half-completed span,
you didn’t make the crossing.