A Prose Poem
Captain Bill Browne
Scattered in the May storms.
No sadness there—
When the buds first appeared.
That feeling is often now,
Especially in the day-to-day business.
The transparent leaves permitted light,
Were chartreuse and effervescent,
They are hard green…opaque.
Spring is mostly gone,
So quickly as always.
Even before memory holds the illusion.
A friend died this spring,
Stepping from his shower as usual.
This last time forever,
Falling unconscious into the void.
We remember his faults as strengths
His subtleties as heart.
My mother sleeps most of the day.
The same as dreams
Are forgotten while awake,
Are forgotten while asleep.
I called and said:
“Happy Memorial Day.”
“Cousin Shirley and her grandchildren
Do the stone now.”
She said, “Oh, I was sleeping.”
“Is it that time again?”
“Your dad’s gone out.”
“I woke you!”
“Go back to sleep.”
“Have sweet dreams.”
“Give my love to dad!”
She won’t know if that was a dream or not.
Love won’t remind her.
My dad has been with the physics of energy
For a few years now.
Passing away silently and softly
Sitting in a chair
Staring at his garden
Through the opened French doors of his room.
He was struggling to know,
Theoretical and string equations,
The esoteric debris of Tibetan secrets,
The depths of love in music
The mysteries of poets.
‘Is truth conscious,’ he would muse.
We once read Carl Sagan together
For clues to consciousness
Were too chained
To the radical reasoning of
Intellectual gypsies and mystics.
Only he, between us, knows the truth now.
I think of him always when red dragonflies
Dip and rustle surface waters
The deep and murky depths of his Lilly pond.
I’d put wild flowers on his marker,
The priests won’t allow it.
His exclusive rest has restrictions,
Concerning unplanned vulgarity,
Emotional excess of a public kind.
According to the rules,
One must be starched and restrained
In matters of grief.
It was tempting to snitch a perfect poesy
From the high altar
In an act of criminal grief
Unrestrained by decorum.
Religion is rarely right about spiritual matters.
He might have agreed that his blessed sacrament is ‘homeless.’
His real memorials are the lives of his family
His sons, who know how fiercely he loved life
The gifts of heart he brought to them.
He gave me my first taste of vintage Chambertin,
Setting the standard in all future appreciations
Of The exquisite.
Birthday specials were Shrimp Newburg,
Devil’s Food cake still hot
Sweet butter and whipped cream.
Life is very hard,
Those moments were deliciously soft.
They knew then—-those two creators,
Cushioned the blow.
It shows in that baby picture,
Wild eyed on that summer emerald lawn:
Irish, magical fairy boy,
Madly waving his little arms in joy,
Standing by some future insight
In dance’s second position
In white diaper
Matching tot shoes
Fastened with a strap
Shining black button.
Dancing, round and round
With a dog named ‘Tusey’.
Laughing with delight.
Joy, a power in my child’s heart.
I recall every now and then,
Particularly when weeding thorny ugly weeds
Leaving beautiful Dandelions in peace,
Churning the rich earth
Digging in sweet tomatoes
Visioning their winter’s promise of reward
In sauces, stews and pungent sweet delight,
Sun-dried with balsamic
Slathered with olive oil in salads and omelets
Fried with a crispy coating of corn meal.
Near his end I would petition
Yes, petition like a frightened child.
Reflexively, embarrassingly petition
‘Could you listen just this once?’
‘Are you there God?’
I would chuckle and fall back in a worldly cynicism.
Heaven’s an indifferent holy virgin
A stick to the donkey.
God’s an acrid smoke best found in
Crematoriums and abandoned ruins,
Answering with cries and pain.
Life passes like the tattered edge of a passing cloud.
Even to ancient sensibilities
Enchanting dappled light
Becomes shadow quickly
Then light again
Over and over.
True freedom is far more expansive
Than its container.
What an adventure!
I personally hope to go
Digging in the mulch pile
Hoping to find my fate in a future garden
Becoming a future tomato
Sharing the final harvest with my dad.
That’s a sacred communion!