We are born to live…
We are born to live
A Poem by Coyote Poetry
A new day, a new opportunity
We are born to live….
The Monterey dark poet loved the street artist. Male or female, who can create with their hands. Everlasting beautiful artwork, beautiful things for the world to observe. He would befriend them, sit with them and discuss everything.
I met Maya in her studio last year in the mini mall in Pacific Grove and she allowed me to watch her paint. She came to my poetry readings, and she would listen to my words. We would sit by the sea and drink coffee after the Poetry reading. She asked me to come at-will and read to her at her studio. We would hold hands and steal soft kisses watching the Pacific dance for the moon and the stars.
In the warm days of Summer, Maya would go to the Old Monterey pier, and she would paint the sea and the Fisherman’s wharf. She loved the sounds of the sea elephants and seals song. I would bring her coffee and warm pastries. I would watch her paint with her delicate fingers. She used natural items like coffee, berries, plants and minerals for her paint. She allowed me to help make the new paint once and her warm and tender voice. She told me. When we use the gift of nature, the art is more wonderful and personal when I create beautiful faces, the sea and old Monterey.
She was a brilliant woman, her artwork sold quickly, and she could afford Monterey. She was well traveled, well verse in the ancient writers and she had lived a exciting life. I loved her face, and she was a natural beauty with long auburn hair that rested easy on her bare shoulders and back. She was forty-five years and, on her face, I could see lines of life struggles and victories. Her eyes were always changing colors with the multi-color cloth of her Spring cotton dresses she wore. Her face, always gentle and kind. She was a mystery and wonder to me.
I was a welcome visitor for her. I would bring strong coffee, sandwiches and fresh pastries. I knew she would paint from dawn to dust without drink or food. She allowed me to talk to her while her hands create new masterpieces. She asked me often, allow me to paint your face? I would pay you a penny. I told her, I am not so pretty, you need to create beautiful things. I am ugly with hate dear Maya. She smiled and she told me. I think you are the prettiest face in Monterey. I see a thousand stories in your face, and I love your eyes, they are deadening with sadness. Your forehead laced with lines of battles fought and things you lost. I would be forever thankful dear Johnnie. I want you to share a story or two when I paint your face too with the Fisherman’s wharf behind you. You would be my Hemingway wish and I would save the painting for me, so I can remember you. Maya looked serious and I told her.
I will allow you to paint me if we trade stories, one for one till the painting is done. Maya smiled and she told me. You may learn things you don’t want to know. You may see me in a different light. I have loved Maya since I found her in her shop, she was a Korean/American beauty with golden brown skin. She had a tropical taste to her movement, her voice. She made me yearn for Asia and the South American coastline and cities. She found a spot near the Fisherman’s wharf and I sat down. I watched her set-up the stand and the canvas. She told me. You ask the first question dear Johnnie. I asked her. You are a natural beauty, and you are alone. Any man would be blessed to have you near. Why dear Maya?
She smiled and she pointed to the Monterey Bay, and she spoke. This is what life should be, being close to the sea. Her hands beginning to create on the canvas again and I listened. I had many men and many women. The nature of both were too greedy. The want ownership over skin and mind. Love should never be slavery, love should be kind, gentle and given freely. Some of us are clouds that roam freely. My artwork, my desire to travel more needed then locked doors and ownership of land and home. We get along because you want little from me but friendship and conversation. This is what pleasure should be. Demanding lovers are always wanting more. We need the human touch and the the warm of skin against skin. But we should enjoy, not steal from. Now I repent the same question. You are thirty-five years old, own nothing but the old Dodge truck and your journals of poetry and story. Where is your great love?
I looked at her beautiful face and I told her. I had many great loves. Love was never my blessing. I followed my father’s path need to find war and love women. My father, four wives and eleven children. Maybe I was the runner from love, or my kind lovers escaped when they saw the madness in my eyes. Love wasn’t my strength. Books, words and travel is what I adored. she laughed and she whispered. We don’t find love; love will find us. In my forty-five years of living, I have learned. Love is for the lucky and the brave. I am neither. Now Johnnie, the second and the last serious question we will discuss today. I asked her. Maya, once I held a 30-30 to my forehead. I saw no purpose or reason to be alive. A phone call, a call to war saved me. Some Colonel told me. Taking back prior service, war is coming. I put the rifle down. Is there a reason for us to be alive?
Maya stopped painting and she looked into my eyes, and she told me.
I saw death in your eyes when you came into my shop, and I knew you befriended death. When we befriend death death, do we love life less? She took my hands and she whispered, life is good days and bad days. We must celebrate the new days and become more wise and stronger. I escaped North Korea and I try to forget the abuse I was given. A half-born Korea child was worthless in North Korea. A kind American soldiers in South Korea help me find the proper paperwork and a family in Ohio. I learn we can overcome anything. We are more content to tempt life, we love misery over sweetness, and we seek some kind of peace. I have lost my mentors; my teachers and I hope. I am like them. The bitterness of life, the sour taste of life makes us bleed to canvas, to paper. Us, who love to create, love isn’t our blessing. All of us will find death’s arms. We don’t decide when we die, death is very patience, and you are not done yet Johnnie. We are here to give mercy to each other; we must be saved, and we must save someone. No easy life for anyone. I asked her, what do you need dear Maya? She raised my hands to her mouth, kissed both my hands.
She told me. I want strong coffee, fresh pastries, kind words and befriend others with the same goals to create. When we learn, we can’t have everything, we learn to take what we need. We have found our small utopia. You and I are in Monterey. The sea is near, and the sun is sun-kissing us. This is enough. She returned to the canvas, and I looked at the Pacific. I did a silence prayer.
Thank you for this day, thank you for dear Maya and thank you for the sea nearby.