sketches 2




colin's grandfather is curious about my heritage  

i can't say i am

it seems distant and irrelevant   i may be wrong about the irrelevance  


my maternal side settled in nyc   then drifted to chicago

yawn   my paternal side settled in richmond   as in virginia


virginia   says colin's grandfather   aye   say i   virginia

when   he asks  

i don't know   around eighteen-fifty   i say




this isn't what i want to think about




colin's grandfather asks if my relatives fought in the civil war

this gives me pause


yes   i say   my great great grandfather

according to family lore   was a guard at libby prison


for the confederates   asks colin's grandfather   yes   i say

i have the buttons from his uniform


christ   that makes me a dixie chick   why hadn't i thought about this before




this scene reminds me of stegner   as in wallace   as in conversations

about ancestry   as in the golden california hills


i demur from further explorations   asking colin's grandfather

if i might get him something from the kitchen

or make another drink   or mow the yard   or dance pirouettes




the sun is getting low   we are on the patio   he's ready to admire the colors

he is enchanted   every evening

with cause


i excuse myself to fetch my sketchbook

we pass the last of the day not speaking of my ancestry 


not speaking at all




my sketchbooks may be my ancestry   a visual record of my life 


the first given to me by my mother   though i may be making that up

but where else


there were always drawings   the sketchbooks filled slowly   sporadically  

and here they are   now   somehow   evidence of said life


i stopped drawing what i saw   scenes of nature   when things fell apart

instead   i began drawing abstractions of the cosmos

then abstract designs   often ruled lines with precision   i needed the precision

need   i've kept the habit   


there is whimsy as well   when i am happy


looking over the vineyard   to the west   to the hills   to the coloring sky  

then to what i've drawn   am drawing  

i see no connection   but there is   i'm drawing my state of mind




with colin away   and being away from the city  

i'm forced to fall upon my own resources  


empty time in the city means walks through the markets

runs through the park   bars and dancing  

and if i remember correctly   if i dredge the recesses   playing dolphins   




my southern ancestors owned a shotgun shack of a jewelry store

on the wrong side of town  

outside of the city i imagine tobacco and black folk bent to the task  


                look away   look away   look away   dixieland




the sketchbooks tend to go untouched in times of salty sea-world frolicking

now i'm filling a page   or pages   every few days 


there is humor within the pages   and angst   it's easy to tell which is which




i'm here until august   working up the road at pete's   a family fruit stand

which makes it sound more quaint than it is


it is a small grocery store catering to wine tourists

i enjoy my days   it's easy work and sometimes fun


ladies of a certain age ask for a ripe melon   as if i'd know    

some ask for something from the back

knowing we keep the good stuff in the back   


the back is skanky with pinups and rotting fruit


the place is a goldmine for pete   whose real name is anton  

less so for me   but i need little  


i am here while colin is away

so colin's grandfather will not be alone

and i will not be alone


yenny is with him during the day   cooks dinner before she goes home   


i have bed and board and his company in the evenings

it is idyllic  

i could live here forever   i wish i could


we go in when the air chills




he has fallen asleep in his chair   

i put on a record   quietly      


i put on duke ellington   i can't quite believe how good it is  

and better with repetition

which reminds me of something else   of someone else




what do i want to think about




i listen and draw a straight line   then another

he sleeps   

two souls   together   alone   in harmony







Poetry by one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 106 times
Written on 2024-06-12 at 01:35

dott Save as a bookmark (requires login)
dott Write a comment (requires login)
dott Send as email (requires login)
dott Print text

Griffonner The PoetBay support member heart!
Absolutely brilliant. I love the presentation of this, and the brevity (which is very similar to poetry). An enjoyable read. I shout, "MORE!"
Blessings, Allen

Alan J Ripley The PoetBay support member heart!
I enjoyed the visuality of this,
coming alive as I read.
Regards Alan