• This is a dedication written to all who think, to all who love, to all who dream, to all who believe, to all who will listen. This is for the skinny girls who think they're fat, this one's for the girls who hide behind their curtains of sleeves, this one's for the lying boys and the schoolyard wimps and the bullies who chased them away. For the oppressed daughter of an overprotective businessman, for the has-been in his palace of solitude, for the clockwork lawyer who is slave to the pulse of his wristw*tch and the demands of his schedule, for the optimist with his head in the clouds and the pessimist with her heart in the stone.

    This one's for the autistic child who is misunderstood because he doesn't speak English, speaks only God, may God understand him. For the school shooters in their mazes of broken prayers, for the suicidal dreamer who wishes for nothing but an end to the screams, for the obsessive-compulsive handwasher who hopes he'll scrub away the shame, for the hoarder buried in her possessions and pain, for the lonely toss-and-turn sleeper who just can't see the light, for the sidewalk-crack-stepper who wishes she could risk a cobblestone drive, for the best friends since the days of tie-dyed t-shirt summer camps and girl scouts, for the strangers who drove them apart. For those who love but aren't loved, for those who want love but know it will never come, for the broken hearts left waiting forgotten on the silent dusty shelf. I have lived that silence soft with cobwebs, I have seen that tiny corner of the mind one rarely sees unless by force, I have slept in that bottomless dark few know but know it all too well, so listen to me.

    This is for the black-coffee-chugging blue-collar worker, this one's for the millionaire heiress yakkety-yak-yakking on her cell phone, for the fine line that unites and divides them the same. This one's for the midnight bike rider who only wants to fly, for the haunted detectives of ghosts who only want to die, for the neighborhood street-corner-rambler, for the lonely park-bench-sleeping hobo who knows some things will never change as long as he's alive and pushing his cart along, for the sports-sweatshirt-swinging jocks and the geeks they torment. For the fictional children sitting on the wire, for the ashes left after the campfire, for the melody at the misplaced singer's lips, for the skirt that sways on the peony-dancer's swinging hips, for the chased rats, for the black cats, for the abused puppy found lost on Main Street, for those who ride the outsides of trains and the ends they meet. This one's for the Scandinavians, this one's for the gossiping hotel queen, for the senior citizen clubs, for Miss America and her first runner-up, for the thirteen-year-old who broke her Ramadan fast. For those who dream of redemption but can't seem to find it, for those who were left behind, for the street salesperson and the miracle vegetable chopper it's his life and living to sell, for the leftover hippies, for the anonymous alcoholics, for the in-the-closet homosexuals, for the scarred bodies and souls of addicts. This one's for the sunlight that never touches us inside, for the tomorrow that we speak of but never find, for the sadness in the eyes of memory, for forgetfulness and faith alike.

    This one's for the families that aren't perfect and know they never will be, always face their trials and troubles every day, always feel that buildup of dust in their veins, no perfectly-cooked dinners together, no laughter and love, some things will never change. This one's for the divorced parents who fight for their so-called rights, this one's for the lost children caught in the middle, for the little sister who lives in the shadow of her big brother, for the man who dropped his wallet on a subway train and never saw it again, for the woman who found it and forgot to give it back. This one's for the man who loves his best friend's wife but could never tell her, for the girl who cowers in a nook for fear of her lover's wrath, for the questioners, for the dreamers, for the downers, for the handicapped little girl and the wheelchair she is bound to, for the wisemen and the wise guys, for the jailbirds and jail guards, for the lost imaginers, for the freakshows, for the question "What if?" that defines us all, for the dust, the dust, the dust, for everyone who dreams not of a better tomorrow, just of a different today.

    This is for the humans, this is for the animals, this is for the plants, this is for the supposed so-called inanimates, this is for all of you. As a writer, I know the risk I run—the scribe to what others can't see, I give my words away as presents and written portraits, as silent screams and transparent dreams, as everything but my own, because my language belongs to everyone. It's the silence that belongs to me alone. Everyone recollects themselves in their own silence, but falls apart in that of others—all of us. I know, so listen to me. I have seen you all, touched you all in one way or another, so listen to me—and remember, your heart beats two billion times in your lifetime, don't let any one of those heartbeats go to waste, I live only to tell you this—one day, the world will come knocking at your door, and you live to answer it, open that door, race out into life's waiting arms, embrace it, for we are the world in more ways than one.

    The world was dedicated to all animal human plant supposed so-called inanimate don't you forget that! From the goddess in her dream theater and the celestial speakers of the heavens to the images not random but metaphor in a mortal man's mind and the fad celebrity who watches his life flash before his eyes every night, we are all one. Those I know and love, those I don't know but someday will, those I have forgotten, those I will never find…listen to me: you are here, you are all ensnared in this same questionable spiderweb of soul known as existence, embrace it, for this is your life. Victims and victors all at once, I see it all, even what isn't in front of me—I know it's there, that's enough for me. I wish I could speak to all of you, but what would I say if I did?

    This is our world, our ancestor and child, a flow of blood like lava in veins deeper and more ancient than the flow of human blood in human veins. Can you hear its pulse? I hear it—in mine, in yours, in the world's beyond. This is my dedication: everything. You who I could not save…listen to me.