And He Remembers
I wrote this in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I was going through a major transitional time in my life at that time. I was trying to reconcile my past while simultaneously planning for my future. I was a senior in college at the time.
He’s haunted by the choice
of what to do
in a year, a week, and today too.
Should he care or give a damn
or should he have listened to his old man?
He’s enticed by a vision
of a free flowing stream,
lots of trees, few people and
nights filled with dreams.
Apparitions of the dead loom large in his life.
They were wise, they were true, they were special.
Grandpa, Great Uncle Frank, Kevin and Uncle Ed.
Dead and buried but alive in his mind
He’s cutting weeds and baling hay.
Walking on the trapline with Duke by his side.
Lost in a forest not knowing
which way to go.
And of course Andy is there too
and he’s just as lost.
And Aunt Stelley is on her front porch
with a Bible in her hand.
Sometimes he hears her singing
take me to the promised land.
And there are so many others
who have come and gone
and he remembers.
Adams County in October
and the wind blows cold
through the cemetery.
He looks at cold slabs of granite
and the names invoke images
of those who use to be.
In the hospital with a pen through his leg.
Doc says “He’ll probably not walk again.”
But he did and does.
He’s on the phone asking
“When will you come home?”
But he never did and never will.
And he remembers Rod
and all the fun they had.
Rod was great and very talented
and is 17 forever.
Where is Brenda now?
Once so sweet and beautiful
and now distant and wasted.
She said she’d wait,
she said she’d try.
Why did she lie?
He carries groceries at Uhl’s IGA
and the customers comment
on the weather.
He’s in Honduras and bullets pierce the sky
and soldiers fight for a cause
they’ve long forgotten
And the barn is falling to the ground.
His Parents are growing old.
Both Sisters have children
and the baby is 22.
And little Heather is a mommy
with a baby in her arms.
And Dawn is a Freshman in college.
The tricycle is now too small
and the stars too far away.
And the old folks say
just take life day by day.
And he sees himself within the childrens’ eyes.
Little Lance runs towards him
but falls and scrapes his knee.
He picks Lance up and says everything is ok!
Lance then smiles and says “Let me down, I want to play.”
He retreats to his room
contemplating while staring at the ceiling.
What will become of him?
Time will tell.
The truth has been hidden
and the river continues to roll.
And at Gas America he authorizes someone for gas,
jokes with Todd and Terry and hands
the customer their Marlboro lights.
He finds he is a soldier
in a land without love.
He learns to kill
but says he never will.
And the black belt is worn
and Rick is all smiles.
The Blackbelt bows, walks away
and never returns.
The initiation is strange.
The flame is extinguished
and he is deemed a brother.
It’s 2 in the morning
and Russ is on the couch
with a Pepsi in his hand.
Pink Floyd is on in the background
and fish swim about the aquarium.
As a Freshman in college
he finds he is truly tested.
But time has passed
and the worst, including Dave,
he has bested.
And they smile with their false faces.
The pretend that they care.
But he has learned their game
and no longer has any need for them...
nor does he trust them.
And he’s locking doors
while all the others sleep.
He’s a walking zombie.
He’s in way too deep.
And the Omni doesn’t start.
His friends don’t understand.
He wants to run and hide
but doubts that he can.
The school bus is coming.
The headlights break through the fog.
With his lunch box and books he enters
and goes to school.
High school seemed important then.
But he now looks back
and snickers at how trivial it all was.
She treats him nice
and she is stable.
He likes her a lot
but finds he is unable
to trust her fully because
of previous experiences.
The canoe glides gently along.
A bridge comes into view.
A dead fish floats on top of the water.
The sun is setting.
Asia feels like I’ve come home.
I pity Tibet.
The body, once burned, is no more.
Tibet, a landscape much like the moon.
The bus continues to move along.
The wind whips coldly
and I can see forever.
A leper, a blind man, a hunchback, goiter, elephantiasis.
The Dalai Lama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
The soul mate is met and both enter bliss.
They’re all getting married and moving away.
They’re slipping away.
America, work, anxiety, time, stress.
Eddie and Matt; It’s time for me to go.
Young but feeling old.
I will work harder but why?
it did nothing for Boxer.
I truly don’t know anything.
All things pass away.
Better enjoy them while you can
but I’m so busy.
We’ll meet again.
Don’t know where, don’t know when.
Go forth! Gurus along the path will assist you.
You yourself are a teacher and a student.
Right and wrong often depends upon our point of view.
Everything is interrelated.