IN MEMORIAM for Denise Franco by Valyntina Grenier
April 30, 2013
Don’t plague the butterfly
blessing the lemon bush
it’s like pushing a ballerina off balance
or stealing a bushel-full of tangelos
working to be ripe.
As intent as breath
cancer takes us
from the ones we love.
Truth waits for us to discover
Justice has her eyes covered.
Chaos harbors the scales.
Hectares of ash move out with the waves.
Heart travels through Chaos,
from life to peace,
freedom from fight
On the day you die a roadrunner steaks across the road. We rent a canoe and laugh too hard as we remember how to row. We set out for some place to say a prayer and a sandy shoal to rest and picnic. I think of Giovanni and Nicholo in matching life jackets and bucket hats on the empty bench between us. We discover a halcyon cove where the birds loll on marooned branches. I place my hands over my chest stare up into the sky and weep. Jane recites her poem
Please take this shy Spanish girl
whom they say you resemble
and ride with her, here are the field poppies
damaged by night, here your blue slumber, your horse.
Take this prayer, which you must surrender
in order to understand, as in moments when you are reduced
to the truth. When you are ready,
the beasts will be there. Let silence go through your heart,
the mild horse your blue one
already stirring toward morning, where it will be white.
While she recites I think of you in your final hours. I hear Chris Cornell singing “all night thing.” A lone heron watches us row back to the dock.
I pledge to see you, dear one. I will repeat you, your brilliance, the mode of your brow. Countless gestures impart understanding. Like a child fighting sleep we move towards closure. I will shrink into a bawl then open as you flower through time, loving, ardent, with the capacity of your spirit to give.
Denise Marie Franco b. December 18th 1967 d. March 13th 2013. In Denise’s words,
“On this Thanksgiving 2012, I give thanks for the wonderful life I have lived and the wonderful life I continue to live. I am blessed to have two wonderful children, and a wonderful man who light my world and fill my life with love on a daily basis. I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family, and amazing supportive friends. Friends I consider like family! Friends I’ve known most my life (you know who you are) , and ones I’ve met in recent years, all who add substance and peace and love to my world.
Thank You… because I feel very fortunate!”
The slideshow is composed of photographs taken by Denise. “Blue Nude” is from Jane Miller’s Many Junipers, Heartbeats. The image above is of a poem I wrote several years ago. Brian Watson found it among Denise’s papers and read it at her memorial celebration in Malibu California at the Nicholas Canyon Chumash Village.