I Am Santo

Fiction, poetry, music and mindscape pictures by creative artist Jason Santo


Your slink and subtle arrogance, a bravado hiding beloved genius with gentle, genderless allure, you swung down from night’s God of War but were every inch Apollo. You basked in the surf of faraway lovers, dipping fingers in legend and serenading diaphanous morality, inviting imagination to meet heart. Ideas surrounded that crooked grin and those flint-struck spark eyes with the surety of a first lover’s kiss, calm certainty that awakened the fearlessness of a generation of assured artists fingerpaint-living in the wake of your thrilling oil canvasses. To say goodbye means revisiting the glory of your aggressive beauty, the glow of your star driving the moon to envy. And unwashed worshippers fall to their knees in distant reverence, your caramel voice run sticky in their ears, weighing their limbs with loss even as they dance to celebrate what was, what forever will be: your gifts. The flutter of tear-dolloped eyelashes aren’t simple eulogy, they’re gratitude issued with choked surprise and the folded soul stirrings of your precious lessons. In the end, we all lift off, but few tell so many they are loved, and they know. Heard in delicate lyric. Understood in long-limbed fearlessness. Inhaled in euphoric confidence. You had eight arms to hold us, and so we try to feel comfort in the forever of your arachnid grip, mourning tasting as sweet as if we’d been kissed by the man who sold the world but who then gave us all that was earned.


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Did you know you gave him light? Did you know that in the darkness he aspired to latch onto every subtle nuance of your kind demeanor, your soft tone, the hard edge of reason that you portrayed with a level of approachability and gracious humor that spoke of intelligence and better minds, better hearts than any known in the breathable air of youth. As the rooms tightened, as the world constructed with its righteous beliefs, your work instructed. Think. Know. Stay removed, but inside, feel. That was a lesson to the rabid heart, the kindness of a role model to not emulate but respect. Admiration is so much the spin of a roulette wheel, but your number was where he fell time and again; that cast off, worried child aimless in emotion and confused by a world obsessed with progress, like a train building a wall on its tracks as it circles in ever-smaller spirals. Think, up. Think wiser. Know that this meat you’re made of is governed by the fast-working neurology of a specially mapped wonder within. Thoughts are tickets to better places, homes away from refuge and loves that don’t need to be earned. Gentleness prevails. Calmness sings so much louder than bluster. Determination is an earmark of forever. You woke dreams and stirred imagination, a steward of juvenile hope, not with promises but with simple convictions in the rights, the proper, and even, yes, the logical. Tears may seem silly, but they’re earned for hearts were touched, minds were expanded. There is little better than to cry as thanks for such profound gifts. And in the night sky there were found ways to navigate the tumult of nature. And in your light there were found ways to navigate the ignorance of humanity. “Believe,” your actions declared, louder than the choir of any angels. “There is so much value in just being you.”


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They’re saying “thank you.” You might not be able to hear them, but their voices are low, some stuck in the swallow of tears, some interrupted by the kindness of laughter you gifted them; maintaining your memory like stained glass in a grand cathedral of their memory. Cherished. Adored. Caught in the sun. Spilling color across their internal bodies, their unseen aspects, which lay curled as if in the womb and beg to stretch and accept, with only joy able to flood their clutching limbs into release. You opened them. The mania of your energy, the high mountain climb of your feverish staccato, the relentlessness of your wit that fell onto the willing like starlight does on the night of a new moon. The churning pull of their bellies when a frown creased your face as if it were a mask cast from the purest care; it didn’t matter what you wanted them to feel, they felt it. They looked up at you and your divinity was apparent, your flight above them an Icarus trip to the sun shrouding each upturned face with the gentle ash of your undoing. They will not wash, but will let the film of your gift sit upon their faces so that they might – at cold times of weariness – shake with laughter, or so they can – when the sky is warm with love – remember thankfulness with a heart-sprung tear. To say you’ll be missed, kind bird, is a whisper in a canyon, at once understatement and an expression that reverberates not by loudness, but by volume as it careens off equally touched souls whispering their own eulogies. May there be a way for you still to hear them in your rest, and may their soft assurances, praise and thanks help bring you peace.


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