Friday, September 8, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

Let me tell you a story about sainthood. I saw the man live, and I saw the man fall, and, I don't believe in it, but he did, and maybe he was right. That would be something. I'd do a quick 180 if it came to that. All I know is that kindness can shine from the eyes. It can make you feel love, anger, jealousy. It is hard to watch someone do the things you are unable to. 

I wish I had more faith, I guess. It would be nice. I step outside frequently at night to check the moon. The sky. The air. I used to smoke cigarettes. Now, I just look at the moon. But it would be dope to look up and think there is something looking down. Even if that meant there was something underneath me looking up. 

Legacy is a tricky thing, and immortality is hard, but not impossible. The actions you perform and the words you speak go out into the world, they are absorbed, analyzed, and, hopefully, emulated by the people you have affected. It's a chain. Your legacy bounces around long after you're gone. 

That's pretty dope, too.

I don't think I will live to be an old man. I don't know if I want to, but, even if I did, I don't think it's gonna happen. Too many braincell assassinations. Too much assault on the organs. Hell, I can't go through life with my teeth unclenched. Where is that going? What does that mean? It means, start working on the eulogy. 

Maybe this is pessimism. Maybe I can pass on some of his goodness, and, if that is all I do for the world, I can still consider that a win. No matter how many books I don't sell.


  1. Reserving this space for JD comments

    1. Loving that last line! I think that resonates with all of us, and going out to stare at the impeccable moon :)

    2. Yes, it's a great closing. And this: "But it would be dope to look up and think there is something looking down. Even if that meant there was something underneath me looking up."

  2. I wrote this for my mother’s memorial service but forgot to bring it with me:

    1. Practically Magic
      Today we’re celebrating the many facets of the Brenda Verbeck we knew, loved, cherished, and admired. Wife, mother, sister, grandma, mother-in-law, stepmom, friend, advocate, champion.
      I’d like to talk about Brenda the young mother. The first person I ever met. Who, as far as I was concerned, was magic.
      And she really was. She could do anything with almost nothing, and she had the greatest ideas to make even the most boring things fun. There was the alphabet game, where we had to first pick up items starting with A, then B, then C…and in no time, our playroom would be clean! Magic!
      For birthdays, she’d whip up cakes in the shape of castles and dolls and hearts… Magic! Cuts and scrapes and splinters were quickly forgotten under the spell of songs from Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Again…magic. And every Thanksgiving morning, she’d set Rusty, Mike and me up with all the fixings to make gingerbread cookies, any way we wanted, nurturing our creativity. Fun and magic.
      She taught me to make coffee and breakfast for my dad. How to use the household appliances. How to get dinner started so that when she got home, it was ready to cook and serve. Sort of like magic.
      But I didn’t see it as practical magic until I was older, and understood that a busy mother of three who was going back to college and lived a half-hour drive from pretty much everything but the grocery store needed a few strategies to help keep the household running.
      The Alphabet Game was designed to get us to clean up our mess faster and without complaining, so she could devote more time to her class assignments. I was the first one out of bed, which is why Mom taught me how to make coffee and breakfast, shaving precious moments off the morning routine. The gingerbread cookies were a clever ruse to get us out of her hair while she made Thanksgiving dinner. And the show tunes? That was just because she loved them.
      Mom, there will never be enough words to thank you for all the magic you gave us and the world. This is one reason I would send this poem to her on Mother’s Day, tongue planted firmly in cheek, as she used to say, and I’d like to share it with all of you now.

    2. The Lanyard
      By Billy Collins
      The other day I was ricocheting slowly
      off the blue walls of this room,
      moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
      from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
      when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
      where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
      No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
      could send one into the past more suddenly—
      a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
      by a deep Adirondack lake
      learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
      into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
      I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
      or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
      but that did not keep me from crossing
      strand over strand again and again
      until I had made a boxy
      red and white lanyard for my mother.
      She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
      and I gave her a lanyard.
      She nursed me in many a sick room,
      lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
      laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
      and then led me out into the airy light
      and taught me to walk and swim,
      and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
      Here are thousands of meals, she said,
      and here is clothing and a good education.
      And here is your lanyard, I replied,
      which I made with a little help from a counselor.
      Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
      strong legs, bones and teeth,
      and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
      and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
      And here, I wish to say to her now,
      is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
      that you can never repay your mother,
      but the rueful admission that when she took
      the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
      I was as sure as a boy could be
      that this useless, worthless thing I wove

      out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

    3. Beautiful. I love the idea of the alphabet game.


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