Bent like an ancient oak with rivulets of
A simpler time
Running deep through etched lines
And leathered hands whose grasp tells stories
Of cows, and dirt, and constant work;
A lifetime of losses buried beneath the skin,
And in the earth.
Warm the way he coddles my babies,
Tussles their hair and stares
As if cradling diamonds laid bare
Against his work-worn arms.
Laughing, his eyes dance from face to face
As if he can trace the cords that tie,
That bind and intertwine,
So many generations.
Worn thin and torn, that same old shirt, those wrangler jeans,
Socks pulled up to his knees,
And a ratty baseball cap, covered in grease;
It still reads, “Hereford beef.”
And now, the ashes of a cigarette, a favorite coffee mug,
The scent of hay, the settled dust,
muddy footprints on the rug
In a quiet house,
For grandpa to win this bout,
To overcome the longest drought,
The meanest stud,
The cancer that cripples him up
In a hospital far away.
My grandpa who eats steamed sweet potatoes on foothills textured in green rice patties
dreamt up a tall brick house with a black iron gate
barbwires sprung around the tips of the entrance to keep out thieves
right now he wonders how long he can keep fibbing to my mother—
their rotten hut at the end of the massive foothill, not fleeting
monsoons come early, swells the ground till it gave
a landslide takes four people and a child
that day, red stars hung above Tiananmen square gates
grounded bones came in sacks, white cement hauled by green skin trucks
My grandpa who loves sweet potatoes constructs an ivory wall.
after the revolution, the sun peeks out in montages
peering through the smoke
gunpowder stuck to the tank tire roads
black heads roll off yellow tar dirt into a pit
My grandpa gives his best friend one thousand yuan—
visas for my mother and grandma,
His best friend disappears,
writes my grandpa
an apology and, leaves him a large white sack of uncooked sweet potatoes
light tan, severs in half and plops down on the lumpy cutting board,
dusty orange inners, grandpa tosses them in the boiling water
and later, while gnawing down,
he pretends they are oranges for once
Grandpa, who’s kneeling on our dried front yard with a worn out copper pail
waters the salty earth slowly until it sprouts sugar canes
chops one down, breaks it in half, the sun beats
peering through palm leaves
a viridescent river of silk and pale honey
my small three year arms grab a hand full
sliced by grandpa into pieces neatly placed
in a blue flowered ceramic bowl
years later, I chop a stalk down and chew until
English becomes a second language again
and in my twenties, I grab a hand full
sliced my mom into pieces, places them in a weaved basket
made of reinforced bamboo
I put it in front of my grandpa’s grave
in Fujian on the foggy mountainside of a small retirement town.
The edge of the South China coast covered in a thick plastic smog,
I sit on a stone eating sweet cold potatoes with my grandpa facing outland,
a red kneeing sun, barely visible past the trees
How are you?
Is heaven as good as they say?
I know you left me nine years ago
But, It was my birthday
So I thought I should write
Are there plenty of fishing holes?
How's Grandma doing?
I miss you.
I think about you all the time
I lay in my bed and think of all the fun we had
I miss you so much
I miss the way you smelled like strong coffee
The light scent of Grandma's tobacco
Your tan skin speckled with spots
Your silver hair
The watch that was twice the size of my wrist
The oil spots on your clothes
The dust on your boots
The grey plaid cowboy shirt
With the pearly snaps
How tall you were
Your hands held up against mine
Calloused and huge
Your raspy but soothing voice
The way you lifted me up
The way you read silly story books to me
Made me giggle like crazy
How you encouraged me
Gave me Catapillar trucks for Christmas
How immovable, and solid
I remember the day you cam home with a broken leg
They don't know how or why you went
They said the brain
I say it was the heart
I miss you
He lived a long life of 95 years
telling me stories had been music to my ears,
Life experiences of plenty he was never without a story for me.
Life without parents at such a young age
became a truly honorable man in times of pain he raised his sister
as brother/father figure to a degree of course he always protected Junie,
Never letting it destroy who he is or
his name he held his head up proudly!
A Handsome like a stud for back in those times,
He is a stealth lady killer for sure and Grandma won his heart and owned it and still does from heaven above which my friends is where you find Real Love.
Married for over 50 years they celebrated year after year
still making each other hearts warm and full.
He is the Best Man I knoW
I watched him and listened as I wanted to taste his wisdom,
And I had longed deeply to know more of who he is and what he lived! Because that is where my dad whom was my grandpa but father to me.
Robert C. Brown
a Navy Seal and War Vet as well
Flying Aircraft and maybe even one or two kills.
He is an amazing man who deserves to be acknowledged
if you know what I mean because not only was he honorable
he was the best Dill Pickle maker anyone has taste or seen!
Always did want him to go big and sell in the markets but Dad
is a humble man who did it for the fun and love of his family and Friends!
For us it was a treat and we all looked forward to eat,
That certain time of year was Ever so Sweet!
Waking up from a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpas house ~
Exciting for sure knowing we will awaken to dads famous so light & fluffy
Scrambled eggs~buttered toast~Jam with french as well !
Choices of hot syrup served and more than that too!!
Yes Waking up at our Grandparents in the mornings were a time for chatter and
being playful with Gma and Gpa at the breakfast table and us taking it all in that special gentle kindness they always did extend.
So Tall and stellar
truly like the old diner/navy cut style,
this man was quite Incredible that people may stop and stare
but Gpa waves his hands and says " Oh Phewy!" blushing a bit.
Survived Throat Cancer thrice ah yes"
he is a fighter won many times but his voice was got light and raspy a smidge louder
than a whisper which would frustrate him with gatherings on holiday times,
So I sat close near listening with an avid ear ; Taking minutes to look into his piercing blue eyes to see that smile time after time again.
Trying to absorb yet another smell of him a hug to feel his sweetness
Love a kiss to tell him how great he is ;
To feel the scruff of his growing back in beard against my cheek
Reminding him of how much I value him & his presence his love.
Always make sure to say Hello if you walk in the door don't waste a single moment!
Since everyone did know not to ignore him or you'd get a pop in the nose!!
Well he would chuckle and grin with sweet humor across his face
that is when Dad was the cutest in all times,
A joke to tell and a smile to give that is how dad chose to live!
whom I Adore
you will be missed
forever until my days end,
I will never forget you dad, My best friend.
Such an Honorable intelligent man watching you
helped me to pick out a Great man too as a husband.
I became extra picky because of seeing you and hearing you speak
watching you be the man you only knew to be and Jesus in your heart!
This too is amazing I say so what I want you to know is I love you still each and every single passing day,month and years until there is no more so thank you for being
thanks for leading me til the end. Lvuxoxome
It shook my heart watching them go,
the time was short, it was nothing at all.
I said my goodbyes until I got to him,
and there he stood, ready to leave.
I hugged him, with a strength that meant love, I wasn't planning on leaving him empty, but what he left me will forever take a toll.
In his strength, the plead of a man that feels time slipping off, it was the hug of a man reluctant for all he loved to go. And though he had everything to lose, love is his only currency, and the only thing he came for. A rich man he is, and as a rich man he'll someday go, for the only thing that comes with us at life's end, is but memories and hope, for a once again, and for a bit more love.
Standing in the doorway I see the man larger than life lying in the bed
Tubes running from his hands and head.
I had heard the news but couldn’t believe it was true.
Sitting in the chair I listen to the familiar raspy voice,
But it’s so weak and soft, everything this man is not.
Tears brimming my eyes I hung my head low
I want to cry,
I want to scream,
I want to wake from this terrible dream.
I couldn’t bear the sight of this man weak and feeble
I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him
So I said he would be fine, just keep hanging on
Before you know it we’ll be back to those projects left incomplete
I’ll tell you then how much you mean to me
I’ll say everything I always wanted you to know
But not until you’re out of this white wall death lingering hell hole
Standing in the doorway I saw the life slipping away
But couldn’t accept what was right in front of me
There is so much left unsaid but life is short is what they say
I prayed that he would have more time that day
But we all have to go soon or later
I love you grandpa
I don’t know if you realize it but you were like a father to me
If it weren’t for you I would have walked a very different path
I listened whenever you talked because I wanted to be just like you
In fact if I can be half the man you were I would be proud of who I am
I wish I had could have said what was on my mind
But life is short and it was simply your time
I love you but I must put my regrets to rest
Say my final goodbye
And though you’ll always be in my heart
Your memory won’t have the painful sting of things left unsaid.
I love you grandpa,
And there he sat
with his head
cocked to the side
his tense shoulder
His tight chin
shrieking for relief
while his gray mane
draped in the drool
his dead lips
the wrinkles of
his withered face
His obtruding veins
Splintered his fragile skin
Into fractured slivers
Like splitting sheets of ice
On a warming winter river
Each flake shriveled
As the blood receded
Fading each pastel color
Into shades of grey
His bushy eyebrows
those murky, marbled eyes
with pupils like
creamy, black clouds
lingering faintly amidst
a midnight blue sky
But as he sat
In an eternal lullaby
He still looked alive
My grandpa illegally joined the Army when he was 16,
Told his Italian parents that he was shovin' off,
Made them sign the "x" on the paper,
There he was.
When he got to basic training in Kentucky,
He got scared,
And told them he lied about his age.
Some tough son-of-a-bitch with tattoos,
Let him know the way things were gonna be.
These words rang true:
You're uncle Sam's property now."
And so he went to Guam,
And possibly American Samoa,
Building landing strips for aircraft,
And essentially winning WWII,
For the rest of us.
On a fluke,
On a misstep.
And in a letter barely legible,
He hinted that I may or may not have a relative,
That lives in Guam,
By way of some island girl.
Make this shit up.