Monday, May 29, 2006

This one's for you

I can't remember Memorial Day ever really cutting me to the core with, well, remembrances. I'm always invited by someone in my family to go to somebody's gravesite on this afternoon, followed by placing flowers there and, say, a lunch of some sort. And, just as often, I never end up going. It's not that I don't care for those who have passed on, I've just never been moved to participate. Collective mourning seems a little contrived to me.

In my private moments, however, I do have my times of reflection. My sister spammed all of her siblings (yes, me included) last week, letting on she was going to send money to my aunt, who faithfully places flowers on my dad's grave every Memorial Day. I never got back to her on that, but she did get me to thinking on him. And today, I'm still thinking.

Earlier this year, I had my first opportunity in over 15 years to visit Missouri, where my father passed away and is buried. I had the chance to dwell on him some there. The following is a bit of a free write I think may form into a poem someday. As it stands, it captures plenty.

I hope your Memorial Day is also one of quiet reflections.



I left the set that accompanied my childhood in the thunderstorms
so long that it shrunk more than I expected it might
in half my life's time. It was then that Route ZZ
was the only one that mattered.
Finding my way back was a series of phonecalls to a grandma
and aunt, a would-be florist of a mom
and a navigator wholly convinced of then-unproven skills.

In the end, it was my memory that saved us, pushing us
an extra 100 yards to the cemetery nobody remembers the name of.
It wasn't any smaller than it'd been before.
The black-and-white photo of a time I never knew
stared out in smiles
he in the tablecloth tie and she in almost-oriental eyes,
and I wonder again if she'll come here when it's time.

It's all written out that way, her return. The plot's already bought
just waits on an expiry date. And if her body doesn't make it back
will her spirit pay a finally at peace visit?
Thoughts are fleeting seconds preceding the ones
now acknowledging the man I remember for goodness.
I send them out, around and upward,
nearly surprised to find myself grateful
to be considered in the same space as he -- and I am
and I'm not.

Here and in the wet gray of a morning I discover
it'd be a thrill to see him on the other side, even if
it's only long enough to catch him up on a life
through my scrapbook of visuals
a smattering told in my own words. He knows it,
all of it, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to share
this dam of yearning waiting for the right time
to burst.
It will burst without breaking.

I will listen more and bypass blinking for days if I can help it
as we commune and remember and forget
it's been the better part of 100 years.
The hope to renew, to dash out the "if only" unnecessaries
gets the spit polish on this less than freak reunion
this planned happening.

I worry less about second guessing actualities
than I look forward to eternities.

The gravestone, just a 2-gear change from the quarry
it reads "For All Eternity" and I stand behind that statement
pull it out to admire it this noontime, tuck it back again.
The cows call out from across the once-bodies, the dust, bones
but it comes out a "hello" more than anything, even a "where you been?"

The journey took me elsewhere, I say
but it's a funny thing with roots -- they're a lot like rubber bands.


In memory of Dustin J. Moody, my father



4 comments:

ewesa said...

very eloquently said. I'm reminded to think about my own remembrances, though none are yet so deep.

Dainon said...

The remembrances are all that matter, right? As long as you're reminded, it's all that really matters.

k8 said...

pretty stuff dainon.

ram said...

Incredible how time on the road can bring things out like that. And what I mean by 'that' are the feelings of connection - those memories that just flood back without warning, seemingly unspurred, and just occupy the space you thought you would have been able to preserve for the fancies and flights of the days preceding. I'm glad that time away like that can help us forget the cell phone and TV schedule and retain the thoughts, hazy though they may be, of what was beautiful for us in earlier days, and enjoy the current ones even more.