Friday, December 12, 2008

(how) quiet. (poem 2 of the 30/30)

uncle
is three spaces from the silence
two headstones on the side of his face
one sense outside of life
--he is partially deaf
if you can call 86% partially
we yell directives for him to come home
LOUD and CLEAR
"THANKSGIVING DINNER is at 6PM"

blind to the world, or rather they blind to him
silence laughs
just because you can SEE them
doesn't mean you're not an outcast
he can read Obama off the lips of thy neighbor
but there is no change
just routine
confines in which society has built
bricks of nine to five's
cemented with roomates that hear less percentage than he
never ceasing to listen that his foundation is--yardie

HE HAS PREFERENCE
fried chicken and oxtail
boxing gloves and race cars
he used to laugh at the kitchen table
with 6 year old jay and ten year old me;
now jay's seventeen
and i don't remember out of my 21 yrs.
when my uncle last hugged me
i know you only hear--partially
but everyone knows the definition of
arms stretched out; PLEASE!
don't give me that
give him his space shit
he's been listening to darkness for 42 years

i am
here to shed light
ask him to put on his gloves and start up a fight
race cars in the dead of the night
regress to childhood; call grandma mammy
whatever he needs to do to understand that he's family

the next time
that november comes rolling around
he--wanting to take his food to go
he--seeing his sister and brother with offspring he'd never had the chance to create
significant others...he never had the chance to date
i will run to the steps of my childhood
down schenectady ave
brooklyn under my feet
grab him by the shirt
pull him into embrace
as far as he will allow
tears on the sidewalk
i'll ask

"hey uncle, can you hear me now?"

1 comment:

Ziggy Za said...

I think there's at least 5 out of 10 of us with an uncle story such as this one. Excellent read.

Keep 'em coming, Riv. Looking forward to the next 28.