They hide in corners, and you think you can see them, but you cannot be certain for they are vague and could be no more than wishes, but belief is sufficient. As you grow older, the number of corners grow and a universe of but eight corners is now itself tucked in a corner of memory. One corner hides the face of the man who adopted me, watched for two years, before departing suddenly, and the only item I have is his diploma rolled up in a tube where my own accomplishments are rolled. In another corner the day I met the man I now call father is so deeply buried only his present, increasingly absent aging face is all I can see. Memories are elusive, appearing and disappearing without warning day by day the oldest evanesce and that corner is filled by another memory grown vague.
You so very want there to be no ending but there must be, just as there had to be a beginning and you had no say about that. Endings are hard, they remind you of small deaths, all but one, but each is also a birth of sorts, and like you know, they arise and you have no say about them. These few lines will soon enough draw to an end although that may be one you don’t so much mind. But as you put them away they are the beginning of a thought you never imagined would arise.
What do you say on the loss of a child? We sat in the lounge drinking a vile potion from a hollowed pineapple giggling insanely for no reason. We wandered the tunnels faces painted, clowns in bedlam. We lay together on a mattress on the floor and listened to Aqualung my arms around you both, but sleep came slowly and we talked until night ran from the encroaching sun. I can feel her soft blond hair and see her smile as we walked hand in hand in hand along the abandoned railbed, dreaming of what might be. As I struggle with sleep and with a new day I can hear the tape end snapping at the end of the ever spinning reel wanting only to hold your hand and stroke your hair.
First appeared in RE:AL The Journal of Liberal Arts Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1998
The gap between hail and farewell is small an unbridgeable, no one can walk across, and yet the mind spans but falls away, to hail and ultimately to farewell and between they stare into a chasm they call life
Tomorrow I will lie to him will tell him when he asks, at least the first ten times he he does, that she is doing fine, that she is a tough old bird, that she’ll outlive us all, that she’s a Taurus, the bull and he will remember the end of their marriage, the Battle Royal that was the war of divorce, and he will smile a bit, and say, “I miss her,” and I will agree with him. I do miss her a bit, but even two and a half years of death have not grown the size of my missing appreciably. We will move on to other topics, will circle back and rerun the tape for with him every day is a series of scenes from Groundhog Day, but in his world, it never snows.
When I die, my friend Larry said one morning in the third inning of a double header of stoop ball, I want to be burned, not that I intend it to happen any time soon, but when it does. They burned my grandfather I think it was Dachau, but unlike him, I want to kick some ass before it happens. Just let them call me Jew boy I’d like to hear the sound of their balls imploding up into their bladder. They burned my grandmother too, years later, until all that was left was the cancer eating her stomach, but I want to be burned in an oven set up properly for the job, my ashes cast into the wind or maybe in the infield of Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium if Luke Easter is still playing first base for the Bisons. It was only two days later that Larry tripped on the curb outside the variety store on the way home from school and later that day they took his kidney and laid it, all bloody within, on the steel tray. When he came home his mother said he had to be careful when you have only one kidney you can’t fool around and you certainly want to avoid the strain that comes from kicking any ass.
First Appeared in Afterthoughts (Canada), Vol. 2, No. 4, Autumn, 1995.
I made it past 27, which says I’m either an optimist or have almost no musical talent. When I made it through 54 I knew I’d never get burned buried in Paris, never be mourned as a great talent taken or taking myself too young. Now it’s five years until 72 and I know if I make it, I’ll never have the guts, sense, or stupidity to do myself in, so lets now all lift a glass to Jim and Janice, Robert and Jimmy, and hope they play Kurt and Amy when my ferryman finally arrives.