1.16.2012

Blue (Ode to My Grandpa, or, I Hear Life Goes Fast)

Metamorphosis Two
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.

February 2011
Mad Rush
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.
And soul.

The numbers were up, numbers were down. 
Played the odds, got lucky, but The House always wins,

I hear.

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:

divorce.
betrayal.
estrangement.
suicide.
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

grandparent.

November 2004
There is not a Vegas oddsman who would stick
even money on my Grandpa making it out of 
2012 on his feet.

Bob Becraft.

He is my grandfather;  also, he is my
mom's dad.

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.

November 2010
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.

July 2011

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.


November 2007
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
she is.

August 1973
She is.

I wonder if he is ever sad, inside, at
not.

Strange, talking about someone in the past tense
while they're still alive.

He was:

kind
stubborn
loyal
loving

Concerning the UFO Sighting...
I have a friend who lost his dad in a 
car crash.

Almost crying thinking about it.

I cannot,

CANNOT

imagine.

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;
the grief.

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.

Metamorphosis Four
What is left of someone when they're gone?

Some words, some pictures.
A storage shed with a million cardboard boxes.

1944
Everybody lives life differently. I wish my Grandpa
could talk about his regrets,
his failures,
his successes,
mostly,
his feelings in general.

My children will have a small collection of photographs
and video clips of them with their great-grandparents.

video
December 2010
Someday, they will treasure them; a lifeline to their lineage and history, interactions they will see
physical evidence of, but likely have no actual
memory of…

My heart is filled with love for my Grandpa,
and also frustration,

for the conversations we never had

Vivere
His quiet manner is venerated by some,
stuck on a pedestal,

but I wonder how much of his
"quiet dignity" was by choice,

June 2006
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,

and Actions.

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.

November 2010
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.

August 2007
My Grandpa did a lot of good things in his life,
I think,
but mostly, I know that

he is half responsible for my Mom's existence,
and that alone makes his life an
extraordinary one.

We'll talk again, Grandpa.

****

PLAYLIST:
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


4 comments:

  1. This is beautiful -- powerful, honest. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I appreciate your honesty and openness. Death is a tough one. I'm not sure how to deal with it either. And I don't like discussing it or trying to figure it out. Even harder is life without understanding, I think. Consciousness without clarity. Existence without purpose. Awareness without a reference point.

    Alas, death and all his friends are part of life and we have to face them with courage, whether it be the imminent loss of a loved one, the loss of mental clarity in a loved on, or our own mortality of mind and body.

    Through your writings, I am challenged and inspired to be more in touch with my awareness of death and my inability to understand it in all of its forms. Thank you for sharing honestly.

    I wish your grandfather peace in his last days. And each member of his family.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Joseph Joseph. I cried a little reading your words about Grandpa. I love that you write. That you remember. And remind other people to remember. It's with such wonderful memories and tinges of sadness that I think about Grandpa. I wish I, WE knew more about his life and thoughts. I wish he talked more and told us stories. But I know he loved us, loves us.

    My favourite part you wrote...

    My Grandpa did a lot of good things in his life,
    I think,
    but mostly, I know that

    he is half responsible for my Mom's existence,
    and that alone makes his life an
    extraordinary one.

    Yes. Absolutely.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And that was me with the Oreo and the toothpaste.

    ReplyDelete

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