Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What To Expect, When Expecting

He never visits her grave,
Though the fact of her passing rarely leaves his mind.
And the children all hold their secret
On the one whom they wish was still in their lives.
How lovely she'd been on Michigan Ave, in '24
Refusing his hand, and clasping the breeze,
He'd simply known that it was not long for,
When he'd see her walk off with another
Down the street.

It was true and he could not pretend to deny
That he'd lived a life in more fear than joy
And when pressed to forget the realms of the "Right"
He had no other passions by which to deploy...
The warm, kind acceptance of this woman, his wife
(Some of his worst times were some of her best)
And the more dark recognition
That she'd ruined her life
The moment she'd rested his hand on her breast.

Once, he'd consented to the trip of her dreams
While he took a year from his scholarly life;
And they rented a Volkswagon in Brittany
With the map of her finger and the mirth of her eyes,
And while she led her children through the dust motes of the Louvre,
He sat in the tour bus and choked on a Jube Jube;
The candy, of which, even today he thinks he nearly died
The Nike, and  The David, and The Hiemlich Manouver.

To see his sweet daughters, climb into the bus
And his monkeying son, with stories to tell;
And finally his wife's face fall flat, and ask, "What's this fuss?"
"Daddy almost died!" said the boy, and silence fell.
And he'd meet her eye, this news always the same;
When the rainstorms of life would threaten some fun,
And the pleasure of Art seemed to dwindle to shame;
How he wanted to ask her, "How are you my love?"

Since she was with him: the answer remained.

Then one day the dreaded charmer, arrived in her life,
And she finally fell by the comely gestures of a being;
When the words were spoken, that so claimed her fate,
"What will I tell him," was all she could think.
She had no choice, though, she confided in the man,
Who spoke not at all, while listening to her think,
He wore a burlap hoodie, held a sickle in his hand.

"Though he will miss you, he now has your dreams."

And that's what he remembers,
Nearly obsesses about every day,
Since the hooded man, finally gestured
And stole his children's favorite parent away.
For though they'd admired him nearly all their life,
And could list amongst them a few of his ways,
It was the smiling joy and dreams of his wife
That finally made, for such as them, life so great.

10 comments:

Jenny said...

Hi Andy,

This narrative poem captured my attention. Smooth passages, poignant in a restrained way. A quiet intensity. I like this text very much. Your style sometimes makes me think of Steinbeck.

Thanks for this post. Hope you are having a peaceful holiday.

mule said...

andy,

i always feel anxious when i see hoodies. yeah, some of them are alright, i know. but can't help it.

this poem is very beautiful and i appreciated reading the great story it contains.

Andy Coffey said...

Jenny,

Thanks for your comments. The poem is about a friend of mine, who's love is as imperfect as the rest of our lives must be. Oddly, I am friends with many of his diseased wife's friends, since I live in a small town, and run with the usual crowd. But... clearly this marriage was a true marriage together, of two different people, instead of a merging of mind, intention, enthusiasm, ect. For forty years, they bore witness. And I admire them both so much.
My Christmas is so relaxing I'm beginning to watch the clock, even though you know I love my life in Bloomington.
I hope your Christmas is lovely, your family a pleasure to you, and in good health. And your husband happily at your side.
Thanks.

PO Johnson said...

Great poem, Andy. It reads as a short story, but is still poetic. I really like it when genres overlap. Forty years is a long time. My longest relationship lasted three years.

Cheers.

PO Johnson said...

By the way, there were some comments deleted here that I took the liberty to remove, as we're all administrators. I hope I did not remove anything accidently apart from the comments deleted. I am very sorry in that case. I've had some problems with jumping comments lately. Like I post one comment but then three identical ones appear in a row. Strange.

Andy Coffey said...

Po,

First of all, it's great to hear from you again. The name Po is not like Jennifer, very unique. So I always enjoy even imagining a Po with something to say about the strange things that come from my finger.

Andy Coffey said...

Mule thanks for your comments.

I'm not sure if a neredowell such as a "hood," is called such a thing due to a hoodie or not.

Thanks for your comments.

Ande said...

Exciting. I like open-ending stories, where I can put in own beliefs. Its liberating with stories where individuals aren't fixated. I really like this. When things are up to grabs in a narrative.

Andy Coffey said...

Thanks Ande,

This man has amused me for a long time, though, in a sense, it remains very true, that I have no idea where what his life has been will take me as I ponder it through the remainder of my own. All of us, I suppose present an open ended story to others. Though I certainly can be accused of coming to conclusions.... sorry.
Thanks, my friend. I hope you enjoy your holiday (at the very least, have one.)

Ande said...

Oh gosh, I often jump to conclusions. Its my earnest hope I one day will stop doing that; however I'm a besserwisser at times. Unfortunately.