The Seven - The Mashup
In memory of my mother who passed away recently, I wrote, or intended to write seven (only six were actually done) new poems themed about her, her passing and some perspective on life and death. All were read and I am deeply appreciative. I have consolidated them all here, in order, though not necessarily the order in which they were written. But the order does matter, as it reflects the change in my mood with each passing day. Perhaps I will write the seventh someday, but not now, not soon.
Thank you all so much for incredibly kind words of sympathy. I am not a dweller, so I set myself a goal to complete this vow, this task, in a week to correspond to the seven days of mourning the immediate family observes after the burial (the shiva, shiva meaning 7). For seven days, the bereaved family "sits shiva," sitting on low, uncomfortable stools and the comforters come to share their grief, praise the deceased, from mourning till late at night
I am confused - what day is it?
Windows tell day or night, a necessary but a condition insufficient.
The days have no distinguishing marks, a video stuck on
Repeat - a single track of recollected tales, prayers add a mild seasoning.
Though brief is this week of pre-sentencing hearings,
If one cannot dice the time into portions,
Then, there can be no pardon,
No early release date, from Phase One.
Rinse grief. Repeat. Seven cycles.
Apply stain-stick at the intersection of
Bloodied hurts and dimming memories,
Strangers secreting, spilling on you secrets unwanted.
This play, saw it many decades ago,
Before there was poetry, children.
A young man of twenty one,
Very afraid, silently, of the newest unknown,
His father, cancer won.
I hated it then. Now experienced, I hate it more.
This semi-catharsis, a tapestry tale wove of faded pasts
Twisting an heirloom blade into an old wound,
the original cast, a new revival, playwright, regrettably, deceased...
First time at bat, hid in a small room, away from this tradition.
Beating my head against a wall privately,
That being my preferred manner of mourning,
Not this Broadway show, twice a day, seven days.
Rituals well intentioned, a time tested method,
nonetheless, jail time for me, a/k/a, the boy, the brother.
Familiarity comforts some. Me? A prison uniform.
I write my own poems, I am not a Borg collective.
Cast as Son, my obligations specific, aged.
My Hamlet doublet, cut/torn, messaging my somber status,
The cuts deepest, invisible, but all see this child
Drowning in eye pools that continuously self-replenish.
I'll do the time, this show the longest running ever,
Did forty years as son-shadow of a father-man,
Tacked another concurrent sentence for his woman,
End Date: Indeterminate...
The low stools will reappear, seven days for me,
Yet my job as poet not fully done, until this be read!
Leave 'em laughing o'er this Official Release from the obligatory,
Read, sit but once, read this poem, this script, this story, and be freed.
Ancestral homes oft possess,
a unique scent, product of an atomizer, a memorizer
Musty time, the odor of
faded and shadow,
hollow, yet hallowed.
Somewhere along the road,
a residence transforms from home to
shrine-storage unit-hospital room-tomb-records depository.
Dust, expired perfumes,
the sweet odor of crumbling, yellowing books, disinfectant,
stale medicine chests, years of furniture polish, sabbath candles.
It is my smell -
the parfumerie of my history, a customized blend,
a commissioned work in 1964, entitled, more accurately, emitted,
Photographs, memories, and paper scraps
my very own Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Yet the most potent firing pin for historical retrieval,
the molecules of scent.
Soon all will be dismantled, discarded,
just plain dis'ed.
Confused and disenchanted,
my departure orderly but, in a disordered fashion.
unable to seed one last kiss upon your forehead,
nonetheless, surreptitiously enter your neurons
though my entity, away, across the miles-wide Hudson River.
For three days, I will hover invisible,
implanting myself once more,
slapping your mucous membranes,
transversing this pathway, an additive to your cells, nuclei,
where my markers always reside.
Adding one more ingredient to your inner vision,
strengthening the formless structure, my altered state.
This odor, keep close, fresh, no becoming musty too, my scent,
the last of your senses knowing me, a true keepsake.
Hold me close and hold me fast.
This one last magic spell I cast.
This one last magic smell I set fast.
You cannot hold it, but it will cradle you.
You cannot see or touch it, but when contact comes,
You will see me, hold me, as in the days of your youth,
When you loved me best,
And I, you.
^According to the Talmud, the soul hovers over the body for three days after death. The human soul is somewhat lost and confused between death and before burial, and it stays in the general vicinity of the body, until the body is interred.
The funeral will commence at 11:30 am.
Gives me one last review time before the
Panicked, I discover a whole new chapter
for which I am wholly unprepared,
though its inevitable presence was
assuredly knowable long in advance.
It doesn't fit, occur, imagery is of a young child to
soon abandoned, not a late-in-life curmudgeonly poet-boy,
who has been multi-times reincarnated.
I add this title to my list
of proper ways to address me,
titles earned by dint of hard work,
or just unlucky luck.
This new status, orphanhood,
bequeaths no special privileges,
other than, a semi-official
societal permission slip
to feel bereft, lost, and compose poetry.
Know a real orphan, from early, early on,
has never recovered and
never will for it is just impossible.
So whom am I to make light of
my undesired, unrequested new degree?
I accept it and to my surprise,
# 4 Judgement Day
After you put in some time on this planet,
You kinda know what the world thinks
About you, your rep, what they don't say to your face,
Sure, thingies, time and incidence and circumstance
Can sometimes cause makeovers external,
But each of us know the quality of ourselves,
Self-certification, you can out your internal self,
Better than anybody else.
So I inquire of myself, about myself,
what will you be remembered for, if at all?
Why do I ask, today, now?
Do we not ask ourselves this
On the low down, subconsciously everyday?
Is this a poem?
And a trial.
You, the judge the jury and the prosecutor,
The defender, if u can, if u will.
For seven days my mother was adjudged,
Family, friends, hers, her children's,
Almost an 80 years of live, in color, HD, looking back video,
Tales told, memories dug up, old photos explicated,
Who what when where of the details of one women's voyages,
I cannot, I will not, do the details here.
Suffice, acts of kindness, faith in people,
Feminist in a strange land, a chance taker,
Gifts of memories, streaming of adoration,
Many strangers are witnesses to me,
This trial a runaway train.
I am outed. There will be no such verdict for me.
I am outed. There will be no trial needed, just a
Summary judgement delivered.
What will you be remembered for, if at all?
#5 Summer Girls In Their Summer Clothes
The streets of Manhattan, jewel dusted,
Summer girls in their summer clothes,
Bedeck the streets and make men say, Thank You!
To their creator.
Little black dresses, previously immortalized^,
Seasoning and sauces, halter tops and jeans cutoff,
Give thanks for the tanks, revel in the revelations,
For God created man and women in his/her teasingly bare image.
Yo! Dude! This is number 5 in the series,
Of sad and somber, re dad and mother, ***?
Have you lost perspective, not read the directive,
You're in mourning, time to be introspective,
My mother was a beautiful women.
Till the day she died.
Yes, physically beautiful at 98.
She, was a poem.
For her exterior was suffused, burnished,
By the spirit residing within her body
I ask myself, why not judge a book by its cover?
Her cover was exquisite, but what gave her a glow,
A radiance, was her modesty, her love of humanity.
What's under our cover?
^ Nat Lipstadt · May 30
The Little Black Dress (and its magic prowess!)
*#6 & 7 Live like you're dying
Perhaps you know the lyric, the song?
Live like your dying.
Dying caught my ear, my eye, can't imagine why.
Con-Textual emendation, Natalino style.
Live like your writing.
Yes, that makes sense...
Embrace with passion each new session
Charge every second stanza with ruminating rhythms,
Cut the wires to the air traffic control sensory tower, go solo,
Pulse each word, beat all into a plowshare, even the anger,
Even the hate, dressed to ****, in words, forgivable...
Grant the mundane, the insane, even the pain of tragedy,
You refuse so hardily to glorify, grant it and
Record it all - a moment,
A royal audience with all
Your writing parts.
No fancy footing, keep it simple.
No jesters in rain puddles,
Let images of clouds of sand
Born and perish in other's eyes and sighs, let verbal games bedevil other
Wooden puppet princes drinking fairy ales.
Write clean and clear,
Let the sheerest wonderment of a new combination,
Be the titillation of the tongue's alliteration,
No head scratching at oblique verbal gestation,
Let words clear speak, each letter a speck,
That gives and grants clarification, sensational.
You, afternoon quenching Coronas, white T shirts,
Sun glazes and later, a summer eve's Sancerre,
Wave gazing on the reality of rusted beach chairs,
Babies sandy naked, washed in waves of Chardonnay,
The traffic-filled word-way highways and bay ways,
Exiting at the Poet's Nook, for exegesis & retrieval.
Body shakes and juices, skin-staining tongues,
Taking her, afternoon, unexpectedly, her noises your derring-do!
Broken tear ducts, the Off switch, so busted, write about
Write not in fear of dying
Angels delivering bad news in vacuum tubes,
Write joyous, psalms of loving life,
Live like your writing,
Write like your living,
So you may die well.