Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Family Thoughts


I’m glad you could stop by today. I haven’t been on the porch for a while. Seems like the days just go by, and then I get to missing you, and think about what we might talk about when you arrive. Today with the wind in the trees, and the end of the storm that came across Big Frog Mountain last night, I have been thinking about family, and wishing they were here.

I am so lucky to have some special people that have loved me for a long time. I’ll always be the kid to my uncles. They have always protected me, and given me wisdom. Each one has a special gift, and I learned so much as a kid and a young adult. Some are gone now, but they continue to whisper to me with poems. Today I miss them more than usual. I want to share a poem with you about one of those special people. He was a troubled man, yet a genius with building and inventing, when the demons were away.

I know there must be a friend or relative who has made a difference in your life, and who you wish would be here on the porch sharing stories with us for just a few minutes. Maybe it’s time you wrote those feelings down. Here’s my poem. Eastern State is a hospital in Kentucky.

Eastern State

We’d drive down to Eastern State
and he’d come into the lobby,
wearing his own clothes,
ready to go home.
The demons left behind in rubber sheets,
cold water, driven away by electricity.

On the way it’s coffee and pie,
How’s Homer and Russ?
Damn Mama stop messin with my hair.
And silence.

Each time I’d watch him being reborn.
The wonder of wide-open fields,
showing in his eyes and
his hand rubbing the car seat.
Lazarus resurrected.

It was as if we pressed the button
on a stop watch, counting down,
time diminishing with each mile
from the hospital.

Time growing short
before the first drink
of this reincarnation.
At home Mama would insist on pictures
and he’d stand, hands in his pockets,
enduring, embarrassed.

An urgency would build in him.
A child sick of the ordinary,
picking at the old wound
as the time ticked away.

When he went out headed to town,
Mama would sit at the window
knowing he could only stay home for awhile,
praying it would be longer this time.

Longer before the call from the jail.
Longer before the burning of clothing,
the curses and the threats—
before the straight jackets,
apologies and tears.

He built the bomb of ruin slowly.
Ingredients of hops, yeast, distilled corn,
copper tubing, and a fuse of pills
was all he needed.

When the stopwatch hit zero
it all exploded around us,
and the litter of hurt feelings,
charred lives and sobs of pain followed him
on the long ride back in the ambulance.

We’d drive down to Eastern State,
and he’d come into the lobby,
and Mama would hold him
while he wept in her arms,
and begged to come home.

Robert W. Kimsey

No comments:

Post a Comment