Been dipped in the rainbarrel
as I settle back, beer
in hand, feet raised to relief.
Son’s soft snoring
seeps down from upstairs.
My mind, couched and beery,
pictures Storm in his pjs
with his gorilla collection and pillow-pile.
Along with local news
splayed out before me, I spy glasses
left, lenses lined with dried cry.
He’s a shaman, a spell caster,
having resurrected faces
of the recently deceased
from the daily paper
with tears and pink putty.
* * * *
I worked in restaurants for years, mostly as a line cook. My wife and I worked opposite schedules so that one of us was always home with our son, Storm. I went to work in the evenings, closed down the kitchen at the restaurant, and came home around midnight. Usually, my family was sleeping when I got home.
This one night, I arrived home, opened a cold beer and sat down on the couch to relax. After being on my feet all night and cooking hamburgers for what felt like a thousand hungry customers, the beer and couch were a refreshing Ahhh. I could hear the steady breathing of my sleeping family upstairs, though nobody actually snores (right Donna?). I thought of Storm, who at the time slept with a pillow pile and a number of stuffed gorillas to sort of nest himself for security (though that's long ago, right Storm?). Storm's glasses were on the coffee table and the lenses had dried tears. I wondered what had occurred earlier in the evening while I was at work.
The rest of the poem draws on a slightly earlier image. Storm had been playing with Silly Putty and lifting images from the newspaper, which he would then stretch and pull. At one point he turned to the obituaries page just to get some more faces. It was that idea of Storm resurrecting deceased people through his childhood play, and how that seemed like such a spiritual and shamanistic occurrence that was the impetus for this poem.
I put the two poem ideas into a single narrative. I like this poem as an example of my approach to poetry at that time. It's very linear and direct, as compared with my current writing style, which is more like "Hydrocodone" and "At Back Stair" below.
THE FULCRUM: LITERATURE AND ARTS JOURNAL, Volume 9 Spring 2006
and on the related website