My Grandpa is almost 90.
He is tired, in every possible way.
His memory went to bed a few years ago,
and his body is following suit.
I played blackjack at a casino, in college.
Unfortunately, I walked out up eighty bucks
which gave me confidence & hubris to play again.
Next time, I lost thirty-five and
felt like I'd taken a cigarette lighter to my cash.
The numbers were up, numbers were down.
Played the odds, got lucky, but The House always wins,
Wichita Vortex Sutra
Feel sometimes I am on a precipice,
surrounded by a Massive Dynamic network of family I adore,
and the odds are slowly, inevitably beginning to tilt the other way: the wrong way.
I have never been hit - truly hit - at a gut wrenchingly personal, intimate level, by the
very worst life has to offer:
death in general.
I have experienced those things happening to people I care about
greatly, but not personally, at the level of a brother,
sister, parent, child, or
There is not a Vegas oddsman who would stick
even money on my Grandpa making it out of
2012 on his feet.
He is my grandfather; also, he is my
Once Upon a Time in the West
What is it like to see a parent go?
And go slow?
He has returned to a state of infancy; a
state where he now relies on his own
offspring to care for him in the way a
parent would care for a newborn child.
I wonder what he thinks, behind tired, so tired eyes
that seem to process nothing,
save erratic flickers of cognition
memory synapses rising their drowning heads
above surface for quick gasps,
then losing, diving underneath to gray void.
Mystery of Love
His companion, wife of 65+ years, clutching his
hand, whispering, lifelong worrywart, now with
something truly monumental to worry about.
Her mind, outpacing his by a mere quarter lap, and
their race is a marathon.
Big My Secret
I wish I knew more about him.
I wish he would have talked more,
when he could talk.
I wish my Mom could have a memory
of him telling her how beautiful
I wonder if he is ever sad, inside, at
Strange, talking about someone in the past tense
while they're still alive.
Concerning the UFO Sighting...
I have a friend who lost his dad in a
Almost crying thinking about it.
I really suck at dealing with death.
Selfish. I don't want to see
people die; I want to go first so
I don't have to deal with it;
But I know no one's ever ready; no one
wants to, or is prepared to deal.
They just do. They learn to. I just feel my
life has been so sheltered, so blessed, so
immune to the horrors striking others, that
it's going to hit me so effing hard when
it's my turn.
Selfish, so selfish.
What is left of someone when they're gone?
Some words, some pictures.
A storage shed with a million cardboard boxes.
Everybody lives life differently. I wish my Grandpa
could talk about his regrets,
his feelings in general.
My children will have a small collection of photographs
and video clips of them with their great-grandparents.
Someday, they will treasure them; a lifeline to their lineage and history, interactions they will see
physical evidence of, but likely have no actual
My heart is filled with love for my Grandpa,
and also frustration,
for the conversations we never had
His quiet manner is venerated by some,
stuck on a pedestal,
but I wonder how much of his
"quiet dignity" was by choice,
and how frustrated he was with himself
over his extreme…quietness.
He had a sense of humor, and sometimes
someone like my dad, pushing his buttons,
could bring that out. The grin, the chuckling,
the classic practical joke.
(think: Oreo filling replaced with toothpaste)
Suite 3 in D
I wonder what he could change, if he could.
What was he afraid of?
Tomorrow, I will be a day closer to death, as we
all will be.
What will I fill my day with. What sort
days will my life be filled with?
I just want my days to be filled with love,
and joy, and Adventure,
creating an Identity where I can be myself and
help others to do the same,
drink coffee (which Grandpa would never do),
find ways to creatively express the love I have
for my family, for God, for existence, for the world,
through Art, and Film, and Words,
My Grandpa sleeps, and sleeps, and sleeps, day and night;
right now, it is fair to assume he is nestled in bed,
spooning with my Grandma,
and maybe dreaming of a brighter world.
Gates of the Garden
How do you gauge someone's life a success or a failure?
Some people change the world firsthand; others are
the parents of those people.
My Grandpa did a lot of good things in his life,
but mostly, I know that
he is half responsible for my Mom's existence,
and that alone makes his life an
We'll talk again, Grandpa.
Metamorphosis Two / Philip Glass
Mad Rush / Philip Glass
Wichita Vortex Sutra / Philip Glass
Once Upon a Time in the West / Ennio Morricone
Mystery of Love / Angelo Badalementi
Big My Secret / Michael Nyman
Concerning the UFO Sighting... / Sufjan Stevens
Metamorphosis Four / Philip Glass
Vivere / Andrea Bocelli
Suite 3 in D / Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Yo-Yo Ma
Gates of the Garden / Nick Cave