with each wave
these last moments
bathe our consciousness

there was nothing else…

(but jobs are waiting)

put the tiny shells
in your pockets
I tell the boys

so the big ones won’t crush them.

two buddies –
they are eleven
never to be eleven again.

the breeze hides my tears.

2003

scalpel, hammer, matches

June 16, 2007

dad was often a car
or washing machine
with arms –

to which I handed
a tool, or pack of smokes

dad wore hats

August 30, 2006

not when he should have

on a cold bright day
he would yell to us
where is your hat?
while the wind played
in his hair.

nor the way he should have

it was always
crunched atop his head
by a nephew or daughter
running around our backyard
at a picnic.

nor what he should have

into the dewy night
the adults would sing
heads touching in harmony
dad smoking a Chesterfield
wearing a bonnet.

In Walked Sid

July 3, 2006

This is a fantasy of the mind,
a song of the heart,
and a reality of the soul.
It is a true story:

IN WALKED SID

the saxophone cries harshly
where is Sid
where is Sid
where has that cat gone?

the piano starts to pound
where is Sid
where is Sid
who will play our song?

for so many years he gave anew
what he had received

never held back a single note
while through the reed he breathed

a reality to be understood
an affirmation
that life was good-

to listen not in the way we are told
but in a way that was rather, bold.

JAZZ was his religion
more than any other
saying in a million ways,
you gotta love your brother.

and as a singer never tires of song
and a bee never tires of flowers

we always dug that special man,
we were so damn glad he was ours.

So when we heard that he was gone
we went blue funk into black

as we began to realize
the cat
ain’t ever
comin’ back…

then imperceptibly at first
before we could hear
or see
a song washed onto this shore of souls
and some bop began to be

we couldn’t help but begin to smile
as the sun began to shine
and everywhere a cat could see
things started lookin’ fine…

then Sid blew out a rainbow of notes
to say everything is cool

out here we’re really cookin’ man
and Charlie Parker’s teachin’ school!

1999

Love Left Behind

June 18, 2006

How I wish to have him back –
even for a minute.

(We can give a lifetime in a minute.)

2006

The night Joe left

June 16, 2006

Joe asks me
to stay,
to keep
the earthly vigil
into this night.
He speaks no words;
nor do his eyes
look upon me.
No one knows
except he
and I.

This dad cannot
take leave of his family
while lying helpless –
unable to whisper
“don’t worry”
unable to say
goodbye.

exhausted,
the others begin
to go home.

It will be better
this way.
I the sentry
who falls asleep,
He the spirit who sheds
this breaking body.
this sweet life…

Joe continues to stare
at a ceiling he does not see
while his inner core
prepares for
departure.

Across the hall
irritated alarms tweak
the midnight silence
as some poor soul
gets up to
wander.

tell him
he can go – it is okay
to go.

Sitting in the visitor’s chair
at three
a.m.
I fall
victim
to
the
mathematical
drone
of
the
oxygen
machine…

Soon
after,
he touches me.

I awaken.

He is gone.

Missing Him

June 14, 2006

Let’s work backwards:

First, I will miss him just sitting in his chair
content to smile as if he had no needs –
connected by spirit, happy to be.

I will miss the shuffle of his brave feet
planting the walker ahead like an ice axe;
climbing mountains we could not see.

I will miss him presiding above the fondue
a sorcerer in the candle light,
stirring up batches of yuletide glee.

I will miss him saying grace at the helm
from which he would love, work, and lead
a life of no regret – a life of family.