Can We still be Friends?

Dear Jorge

You died.

With your daughter beside you, not alone in your bed where I saw you the last time. I massaged your legs which cramped for hours, brought you food you did not eat, shaved your brittle black beard.


You hadn’t slept in years. In the cave it looks the same whether it’s night or day. We listened to Radio 3, or you explain how there is no meaning to life, or we just sat there in silence.
What did you mean when you said, “there’s no meaning to life?”

You see meaning in everything, subtle art. You are an alchemist. Meaning is your instrument. Were you testing me? Did your doubt win, or did you let go of preconceived notions? You would have kicked me out if I had tried to fix your attitude like everybody else did. Why try to fix someone who is dying?


You are one of the greatest artists of all time, and you died misunderstood and poor, a seer, a free-thinking individual, a sense-lover who learned to fly. You were always good to me. You let me into your work space. You modeled true creativity by surrendering to observation like a child does to play.

Did anyone in the neighborhood realize you are a revolutionary? You hobbled with your cane through the steep cobblestone streets, disheveled, too tired to see a doctor, unable to hold down food, shitting blood, surviving without money. Even so, your stern enthusiasm persisted. You couldn’t help it. Having good taste, the grace just keeps on flowing. To have good taste, you need a good nose to smell the materials around you. Smell the old things, those that improve with age. Breathing in simple empty spaces, you revere the light humanity has not yet seen.

You relinquished idealism, but kept caring through radical honesty and clear descernment. Unlike the young initiate who sees their self in everything, you treasure only the finest substances, tiny statues, gems, sacred textiles, poems, design tools, music that makes audible silence. You stopped painting, but you never stopped crafting humanity on the inside. I know you are still.

Version 2

You do not hide or confront. You do not boast, deny, regret, or plan. You are never bored or lonely. Your friends are few, famous, and mostly dead. They too live on without their corpse. Unapologetic, sensuous, and centered you sit back, all knowing, peeking my curiosity. What muse has revealed to you another secret, what ordinary miracle are you witnessing decay, what transient omnipotent arch of beauty? You are still next to me, like a solitary black bull, with me right here right now.


Did you even remember me when I turned up twelve years later to say thank you before you died? Did you know it would effect me seeing how a great man can let go of his life without attachment? There’s no meaning to live but the meaning we give it.

Can we still be friends?


Paintings by Jorge Aguilera, Granada Spain

Article about Jorge in Spanish news paper:

One Reply to “Can We still be Friends?”

  1. That is so moving. What an amazing meeting you had with Jorge, so many years ago and again last year and forever with his spirit. He was truly a teacher for you.


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