NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 61

p Ethelbert Miller She responded with these words: Dearest Ethelbert: Tonight it’s the first rain of the New Year, the last year of the millennium. And it is tonight that I sat at the table, reading your autobiographical excerpt. Well, I am still breathing and thank God for that! You do bless my life. To go on loving means not to forget and you remember you testify and no one could doubt your love. And I do not forget your love, or mine — my love for you. I remember. When I read June’s words, I am moved by how she connects human love to nature. The rain is falling, cleansing the space in which we live. There is something eternal about the rainfall. Maybe it’s because at times we wait for it to rain, and our lives are thirsty for meaning and goodness. June’s words are a reminder of the importance of memory. We struggle not to forget. Our failure only makes us human. Our attempt to remember restores our faith in the unseen. It’s why I do not forget June’s name. It’s why I whisper it in the dark, and it gives me light to continue living. n note A version of this essay was presented as a lecture on September 22, 2015, at Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th Street NW, in Washington, DC. biography E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. His Collected Poems, edited by Kirsten Porter, will be released in March 2016 by Willow Books. In April 2015, he was inducted into the Washington DC Hall of Fame. His last published book was The 5th Inning, a second memoir. Mr. Miller is often heard on National Public Radio (NPR). endnote And the rain seems beautiful now. Clean and soft and everywhere just gentle and not to be denied. 1 June Jordan and E. Ethelbert Miller Correspondence (GV004), Archie S. Givens, Sr. Collection, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis, Thank you. Adambert. Minnesota. Thank you for what you have chosen to remember, and why. You the Tallman, always. The Tallman and The Loving Poet of my life. 59 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE June