For Barbara, until we meet again.

This beautiful eulogy was written by my housemate, Joseph, who was quickly becoming friends with Barbara.

How can you.
In spring.
At Easter.
Was it Good Friday, Barbara?
Will you rise again the third day?
Master, had you been here, my brother had not died.
Had I heard the phone ring
Had I heard the phone ring
We were going to color easter eggs
Maureen Beth Katrina Me
and Barbara
Saturday we were going to color Easter Eggs.
Have a jolly old time.
Make new friends
Have a jolly old time
For easter, for spring
For rebirth.
If a man die, can he live again?
Beth had bronchitis.
Maureen had to rush to help a friend.
Sorry, no easter eggs.
Sorry Barbara.
I called, left a message
Sorry, no easter eggs
No celebration of rebirth
Later, I’m sure, sometime. Hope you’re well.
You called. No one heard the phone ring.
Was the blade in your hand when you called?
No one heard you call.
No one heard you calling
No one heard.
If if if if. If only. If.
No one caught you.
Could I catch you? Could anyone?
You looked into me:
Hungry eyes, longing eyes, I held your eyes as long as I could
I’m not Gabriel.
I have no silver trumpet.
I cannot hold your soul
Slipping slipping slipping away.
How could you
In spring.
The roses will bloom, Barbara.
How will they bloom, knowing you are not there?
Will they not blacken, a sudden blight
turn your yard to mourning?
No, Spring will come
Roses bloom.
They whisper: For roses know. For roses know.
Roses, trees, they have come, they see:
Human lives burning light bright flames
Little lights burning burning burning
The roses know,
They dance, they hold her
Her suffering soul nestled in their velveted petals.
The roses know
Sorrow. They hold deep in their dark velvet heart
The roses know
Roses know it is spring.
Roses wear thorns and wrap themselves in velvet
Velvet: dipped in blood.
We pruned your roses together.
Cut out the dead
Cut out the old and useless and overgrown.
Cut back to the fresh, bleeding green of life
Cut it back.
For it is spring. Time.
Time to: Let death go
The soil whispers of dead things falling to the ground
Dead things: slipping apart to feed
New glowing green rising from the soil
It is spring. Let us whisper: rebirth.

Goodbye, Barbara

Blind-sided. Saw something coming when the caller ID showed her son’s name. Please let her just be in the hospital. He found her yesterday. She’d been laying there for days. Took some pills and slit her ankles.
Thinking, “I should have been watching her more closely. I should have called her while I was out of town. I should have…”

Spring weather came today, a few days late. Can’t we just fix it… rewind?

She was here last week, so sad and depressed, wilted, gray, just wanted me to rub her feet. Ahh, a little life, a little tiny hope. Continue reading

Practicing Clarinet

When I practice the clarinet, I try to start from a blank page, blowing warm air from my heart, not judging what comes out of my instrument. That’s me flowing out the other end (among other ends) and I best not trash it. At first it’s huffy and airy and fuzzy. But eventually it starts to refine itself, flowing into a satisfying resonance, with the depth of character I seek. And if not, I try to stay emotionally open to let it happen when it will.

I always keep the ideal of the perfect sound in my ear, to guide me and my instrument toward it. I never reach it. That’s the curse of the performer, to struggle toward an unreachable goal. But to shimmy close to that pure ideal even a few times in a career is the musicians blessing. For me to be able to express and make real the elusive perfection of music is my greatest challenge and my greatest gift.

Sonnet For Alberta

I wrote this sonnet for my mother, Alberta, for her 81st birthday. Both my parents are amazing people. I often share them with friends.

Your grace and peace are infectious, glowing, light.
Your spirit, unconquerable, guides with unhindered freedom.
Maintaining regal poise, you’re a glamorous sight.
With efficiency of thought, of love, unhurried speed,
Your gentle acceptance of years betrays no fright,
While gumption and motion allow you to take a lead,
Living by example, not yielding so gently to night.
Planting sage advice, carefully as seeds,
Never judging, (save the rare, pointed word
To emphasize your opinion of how your son should look!).
Yet always, care and concern is shown for little birds,
God’s frail creatures, many, in time’s fragile brook.
The time I spend with you forms memories’ precious trove,
While I barely show you enough how full is my love.

Most of my poems are free form. Sonnets have a certain defined rhyme and rhythm. I enjoyed this challenge.

Springing Clean

Chuck the cluttered
basement of it’s crusty junk.
Give clothes to charity,
so new memories may flutter
along wrinkled threads
which languished in trunks.

Spritz your spirit
with eau de new leaf.
Shine your shoes
with gratitude.
Don’t forget
each breath is a thief
with a gift of another,
and a chance
for a fresh attitude.
Shed your grudges.
Dust off your virtues.
Ring a clear bell
in a zingy new key.
Spring clean and clear
of your long gray shadow,
sallow and pasty
in Winter sheaf.
Hope Springs Eternal.
‘Tis the Season to Renew.

Happy Spring Equinox!