‘Round Daylight

Under a mound of dirt you lay I imagine a saxophone Playing ‘Round Midnight Maple trees line the road Their shade saved for the¬†living While you lay beneath the blazing sun Under a mound of dirt you lay On the winds float the notes Of the sensual¬†Yolanda Anas Blue pinstripes and a pinky ring Which direction do your feet point? It would matter to you Under a mound of dirt you lay Not even a butterfly stops to rest Upon white stones churned up To make space for your withered presence Whose eager fingertips once thrummed tabletops To the tune of The Wind Song Conversation has ended Quiet disquiets Not even a vase of spent flowers There ought to be a combo The rumble of the subway, sirens and horns blaring Street lights and summer fog on the long drive home The music has stopped There is no one here Save the groundsman who clips the grass short And leads me to you Right at the 19th Maple tree, stop a few paces short of the road You will find him, buried under a mound of dirt You should not be stretched out in Paramus But scattered in Montreux, Newport and Paris On the sidewalks outside Birdland, Dizzy’s, the Blue Note All you ever wanted was good company A nice lunch, a glass of wine and a few tunes There is no one here except you Slumbering in a field of grass

Remembering a Friend…

The news did not exactly come as a shock. I had filed away the possibility that his life would end one day in the part of my brain reserved for things I simply did not want to think about happening. A less willful, less stubborn, less enthusiastically alive man would have long ago succumbed to the many illnesses he had endured over the last 2 decades. His ability to push back had convinced me that nothing could kill him. An email in mid-March relaying that he was in hospice care switched on the emotional regulator that controlled my reservoir of memories about him, sending through a few at a time, as though dropping them into my consciousness in a metered manner would avoid a flood tide the day he finally decided to part this Earth. I called and left a message on his home answering machine – announcing, asking, hinting – that I would get on a plane to see him if I could be sure I wouldn’t be intruding. When his wife called back minutes later, I hoped she would say, ‘Yes, of course! Come!,’ but instead I heard, “No one has told you…Jim died last night.” I had not seen Jim and his wife since the Summer of 2011, when I accompanied my husband to New Mexico for the unveiling of his mother’s tombstone. The four of us had gotten together for lunch, a lunch that was interrupted by an unexpected visit from my family, a lunch over which I had wanted to talk to him about so many things suddenly shared with too many people, a lunch I did not know would be the last one over which I would enjoy his company. “No!,” I wailed, then apologized, embarrassed. How could I commandeer this sorrow for myself… Continue reading Remembering a Friend…