image borrowed from bing
“Poetry is a pack sack of invisible keepsakes.”
Like a dog burying a hambone in the garden,
& then forgetting about it, as a species
we seem to all hoard, save, put aside
every sort of thing--somehow significant
for a moment, for a month--mementos,
souvenirs, impractical gifts, belly button lint,
string, shells, tin foil balls, crystals, driftwood.
Hanging on to the edge of a protruded brick
of our living room fireplace, on the left liberal
side, is my grandfather’s cane, made from
a shellacked bull’s penis, 3 feet in length;
opposite it on the right conservative side
hangs a plain wooden cane that my father-in-law
left behind during a visit fifteen years ago;
both passed on now, both remembered daily
by their dueling canes.
There is a hexagon candy jar
full of small colored rocks
that we kept bringing home
after beach combing & hikes;
of a plan I once had
of polishing all
of them, and then
displaying them in a beautiful
hand-made wooden bowl
I would get somewhere--
but the jar is full,
sitting on a low shelf
in the basement,
a clear plastic bag
of perfect sand dollars
that nobody ever sees but me.
The crown jewel of nostalgia
is a small leather suitcase
that my grandfather gave me.
It had once held his wonderful oil paints
& the brilliant smears of color all over it
make it look Pollock-dripped
Inside it now are hundreds of letters.
For a busy decade during my twenties;
while in the Navy,
returning to college twice,
starting my career as an Actor,
then abandoning it for one as a teacher,
he and I
kept up a continuous stream of correspondence.
I kept all of his letters;
he was a wonderful writer,
having the knack
of seeming just conversational.
he told me
that he had kept all my letters too,
& that it might be a fun project
to combine them & correlate them.
After he passed away
a void none of us has ever recovered from,
I organized them,
the perfect memory box.
when I first started blogging,
I thought they were worth sharing,
so I typed up
a couple of dozen
of them, until
one day when the absurdity nymphs
stopped by & reminded me
that the world at large didn’t really care
about them as I did,
it wasn’t any of their damn business, so
I closed the lid
on the treasured painter’s box,
folding the letters twenty score,
placing it on a high shelf
in the busy furnace room
at head-height, so that
every time I pass by it
picking up toilet tissue,
we can exchange pleasantries
& knowing glances.
Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics
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