June 2022 in Memory of Edna-

My Mother and me circa 1957

The following series appeared in the Collection entitled Sometimes Grief- barks up the wrong tree published in 2012 shortly after my father passed. It is reprinted here in memory of his wife Edna-

The Edna Variations

(for my Mother in memory of her husband and our Father)

Forward

You will not negotiate with death. You cannot dictate terms, conditions or schedules.

Death will not be timetabled. Death will come for everyone and everything you have ever known. And then death will come for you. The only thing you must really know about Death is that you cannot prepare. Anticipate. Control. Elude. The biggest fear you will have to face when death arrives is just how the living will deal with the loss. Death knows the name of everyone you have ever loved and will take their heart and soul with it away from you here on earth forever. And just for the record ? Death knows your name too.  Perhaps our only hope is before a loved one leaves us (or it is our time to go) that a stamp of return to send is placed deep in the departed’s heart

After You’re Gone

  After your gone and left me crying

After you’re gone there’s no denying

You fell blur, you’ll feel sad

You’ll miss the dearest pal you ever had-

Bessie Smith w/ the Benny

                                                                                                                 Goodman Quartet 1935

On the café table

on this train this morning

is a book of Short Stories

with his art work on the cover

The one he always wanted you to write.

The stories are accounts

of a person’s life.

Each page turns like days

which were collected into years

as a lifetime passed.

Later this afternoon

you are taking his book home.

You will walk in the door

out on the end of the island

to spend time with a lonely woman

who has lost him at last.

She will be so very glad to see you

to have company and conversation

at the end of the day at sunset.

You’ll make her the drink

and crackers with cream cheese

just like he always did

at this time of day.

You’ll place his book in her hands

and perhaps take away

for just a few hours

that dreadful feeling

of loss

of abandonment.

Now you have become

the sound of a familiar voice

the sound of comfort

in the very empty room

he passed away in.

The smile in the doorway

for his wife

your mother

but really

all the heartache in the world

is simply never

just

yours.

                                                                                                        5/2011

On The Feast of St. Anthony

In my pockets tonight

I have a pair of dice

On one side

And a holy medal of St. Anthony

In the other.

I discovered it hanging on

My late father’s work bench

With a small key attached.

What the key opens

I have no idea

Perhaps a box of

Lost things.

But even the box is lost

At the moment.

So was I

When I noticed the medal

Hanging there on a nail.

Never remember seeing

It there before

So I took it down immediately

Like he had left it there for me.

Then I saw the dice

Pocketed them as well.

All that night

I held the medal

Of St. Anthony

Tightly in my hand

As I slept

Hoping

Maybe even

Praying something

So dear to me

Could be returned

To me.

In the morning

It was still lost

I was still lost.

But at least now

I knew why

                                                                                                                           6/2011

Pentecost Sunday

She thought

as she prayed

I know I could feel

his arms around me last night.

His art

His paintings

His music

was a poetry that was still alive in me.

Whatever we leave behind

like all we will ever take with us

is of the life and love we once shared

with another.

The exterior that fades

The interior that endures

The loneliness that permeates.

A silenced heart.

She cried

when no one was around

to see her tears…..

All I have ever done

was the best I could have done

for you…

Take these memories

echoing in tongues of fire

from me now.

Please leave me

to remember him

as I want to.

The burn of his departure

promised me resurrection

…..and I do believe….

But O god now…..

how unearthly quiet it all seems

without him.

All I can hear are those tongues of fire

please let that spirit live

spread but dissipate somehow….

into a comfort

a promise

of forgiveness

over my anger

about being abandoned

Look into my spirit now

You not so holy ghost

and send this sadness

this pain.

this loss

to where it needs to go.

Give me a new language

To express this crushing grief

I no longer had the words for it

I understand

Take from me my devastation

in the roaring wind

that filled the upper room

Extinguish this anguish

Please no more of this

hollow, lost in-between.

Take this window

Of him

out my mind.

And If he cannot return

Please take me to him.

                                                                                                          5/20

Short Dog Sunday

After church that morning

My Mother called me a Lothario

In the aisles of the IGA

because I thanked the Bakery gal

For getting her warm bread.

We headed out to the car

And standing outside

Looking especially

Lost

Sad

And stunned

There he was

Short Dog

Not a story collection

But a real man.

His space of that chilly,

 gray sidewalk stunned

A shadow of lost life

Indecision

And a very quiet

Desperation.

In the car we looked at each other.

I’ve got a couple of bucks

Edna said she did too.

We pooled the bills

And I went out to him

Said, Morning Short Dog

And pressed the few bucks into his hand.

His eyes watered slightly

And he mumbled

Thank you.

Getting back in the car

I called Edna an

Enabler.

                                                                                                                 5/2011

My Mother, The Daily News and the 4th Dimension

I went out in the Driveway

To smoke a butt at 6am

Before Mass and bring in the

Daily News that was delivered

Every morning pre-dawn

Wrapped tightly

In a yellow plastic bag.

Found it

No problem.

Brought the

Daily News

In the house

And put it near the chair.

When we came back

Edna asked

Jimmy…

Where did you put the Daily News ?

I pointed over near the chair.

She looked

And looked.

Nothing there

But empty air.

She said are you sure ?

Yeah Ma I go….it was right there before.

She threw up her hands, shrugged

With assured resignation sighed the following….

Well then I guess it’s in4th Dimension

Next Day

The Daily News

Never even made it into the Driveway.

My Mother said

Enough is enough

And called the Paper Delivery service

Was told the guy had car trouble.

And I wondered….

Do you think he called into the 4th Dimension ?

5/2011

Rage

She shook with fury at him

Snarled so very dark

Pulses of furious rage.

She growled insults

On the way to church

That Sunday morning

Parking in the

Rectory driveway.

Because she could.

Practically spraying

A fine mist of spittle

She seethed such spite

Such anger and fury

She even went after him

In front of his family

In voice that sounded

Like Burgess Meredith

Telling Rocky off

In the gym about being a loser.

And then they all marched

Into the Church and sat

In the front pew

To attend the mass

In memory of her husband,

Who had the same name

Her son who presently

She was beyond being

Pissed off at.

What set this all of ?

Who knows really

Perhaps it was look

She didn’t like

A tone of voice

That reminded

Her of too much

or

Leaving 3 minutes early for church

She hated him

In that moment

In an out of control

Rage that only

A mother can muster

For a son.

Who reminded her

Just way to close

To the old man

At times

Trying to be patient

And kind.

Like he used to

When she got

Like this

Rage.

He had left her alone.

Left her with this pale shadow

Imposter

 this worthless bastard

too much like

but not enough of him.

It was all

Just reason enough to

Damn him to hell.

Let us pray.

                                                                                                          7/2011   

From the Archives

Medical Records

lLittle V

Says here that I was born 6/7/55

for $125.00 with that you get three consulting physicians @ 25 bucks a pop & a C-section.

And all I’ve heard my entire life was that I was no bargain.

Bullshit

-Attitude House  2001

*

elite-daily-mad-caster-instagram

Sister in Gemini

(for June Webb)

I remember seeing her out in the front yard in the June sunshine

When we were both quite small

Out on a blue chez lounge recovering from her latest operation

Her blonde hair and massive white bandages and cast seemed to glow

The doctors where trying to repair her deformed limbs

She and I had been born hours apart

I was told that June might never walk again and would probably

Have to struggle this handicap for the rest of her life

Yet it was me who was indelibly marked with harmless

port wine stains  on my face and neck….

Like a Technicolor Achilles

and was told to consider myself lucky

I saw her years later in the marketplace still limping with

Her signature smile and familiar lope

I kissed her and wished us a happy birthday

And she smiled and remarked…why you haven’t aged at all

I replied with a shrug….you ought to see me on the inside

They knew just where to aim the arrows.

Got Abstract /2014

The Yellow Sting Ray

Yellow Stingray

When I turned 12

I pestered the living crap

Out of my folks for this

Really, expensive Schwinn

Yellow Sting Ray Bicycle

With high set handle sissy bars,

Gear shift and sparkly plastic banana seat

That I saw in the widow of Terry’ Bike shop

In town.

The old man said how ugly it was

and was just way too much GD money

at 89 dollars for such stupid dangerous thing

But it was my birthday

And I think my Nana kicked

In some dough.

So that evening my mom pulls

Into the driveway with it sticking out

Of the rear of the gray station wagon

And I took off on it like a bat out of hell

Not getting more than twenty feet away

And attempted to POP a wheelie like I had

Seen them do on TV.

Of course I immediately dumped the thing

Going air borne and ending up

In a crashing concussion

To the hard into the road surface

Raking myself up one bloody mess

Of road rash from head to foot in

Shredded clothes and with blue stones

And tar stuck into my abrasions.

Not only that I bend the frame,

handle bars

the yellow banana seat

came off as well.

And some 67 years later

I’m still doing pretty much

The same kind bullshit

to anything

I can get my hands on.

Just still trying to ride the GD thing

Without going down in flames

And tearing my ass to shreds

Down into the gutter

Got Abstract   2014

*

Bellingham WA circa 1978

The Kitchen Tables series- in progress

Do we hear what we see ?

Deaf and Blind sensing only frequency

We see in sound

And hear in light

4/22

If I could write in 3 D Stooges Poetry

I would want to be Larry

It would so Fine to be Larry

Talk like Larry

Walk like Larry

Look like Larry

Wouldn’t I just nonchalantly stroll 

Into the bar of East 6th Street and 1st Ave

To the open Mic reading

Feeling so Larry Fine in 1939

Order a beer and recite a poem

Spilling secrets of Moe and Curly

Being Larry Fine at the microphone

And I bet I was through?

Bet I wouldn’t go home alone. Uncollected 4/22

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