Tag Archives: Family

THE ALBUMS

THE ALBUMS

Mother’s shrinkage was marked by domicile

House, apartment, retirement and nursing home
shedding at each move, furniture, china, and art
except for, and never, the old photo albums
heavy in padded leather brown and green

Each visit when conversation stuttered to a stall
(Religion all but Baptist drowned
and what use is weather without crops)
out would come the albums
and in we all would dive
for pennies
bright and shiny at the bottom of the pool

Here’s one from 1958
how young the queen looked then

THE AUSTRIAN UNCLES

THE AUSTRIAN UNCLES

Already old when I was young
revered as I would hope to be when old

Two brothers married to
two sisters of my father’s father

Great aunts
always as they’ve always been
busily bustling round the house

while the uncles somehow stay
both present and out of the way

Little china cups in work-hard hands
black coffee and home-brew
sipping the day away

THE STROKE

THE STROKE

I lost my father
when he was sixty one

He wasn’t exactly lost
I knew where he was
but he didn’t

Six weeks in a coma
some parts he sent ahead
and some came back

The great Swiss-German
precision driven
driven precision
mind stopped ticking

True the right artistic side
the one he’d put away
the one that mostly died
when his mother died
at eight came out to play

Whatever we hadn’t resolved
and there was plenty
stayed that way

but art is no small
thing either

SEASONS

SEASONS

My grandfather came to Canada
trailing the civilities of Europe

Planted ten thousand trees
on the bald-assed prairie

Plenty of produce for a family
and acres and acres and acres
of flowers as well

On the other side of a depression
and the rationings of war
every plant like every animal
on my parents’ ranch
had to pay its way

At our house in Austin
we have only flowers

CRAB APPLE LOVE

CRAB APPLE LOVE

You’d be crabby too
if you’d been through
what I’ve been through

Yes, you might be a little crabby too
if all your relatives looked down on you

Sweet Granny Smith with her stem in the air
pretending she’s green as the unmown grass
has a worm hole or two I could tell you about

And there’s just no living with cousin Mac
since that damn computer came out

But enough about them, let’s talk you and me
how I’m so much more than an ornament tree

About how lonely I am, and inviting you in
your teeth in my flesh and your lips on my skin

So if you’re looking for love that’s true to the core
I’m telling you love, you’ll be looking no more

If you’re looking for a love that’s going to stick
I’ve got plenty of pectin to do that old trick

And we can be jammin’ all night and all day
if you’ll bring some sugar, and meet me half way

UNCLE ERNEST

UNCLE ERNEST

If Uncle Ernie
had not gone off to war before I was four

If he had not loved movies, or sat
in that seat in that theatre when on leave

Where the bomb came through the roof
and through the floor
and killed a few
and then blew up
and killed some more

He’d have been here handsome and bright
helping my father with the ranchers load
and telling stories to my delight

Marrying and making me
cousins in the night