Uncategorized · Writing

Setting The Snark Aside

Me And Grandpa (Image property of Cristy Lewis)

Last night I started writing a post about my maternal grandfather, whom I called Grandpa. A nostalgic sort, I tend to sometimes dwell in my memories and the stories told to me by my family. Those places that are sepia-toned and a bit soft around the edges. Tales in which truth and embellishment have become interwoven into the same long braid.

For today, I’ve set the snark aside and offer these instead.

Ma Ma, Me-Ma And The Brood (Image property of Cristy Lewis)

the burial of older men


in the darkness

before the sky cracks dripping yolk sun

she hovers the room

the coffee maker clicks          dribbles

an appropriate dress hangs on the closet door

it is black

with sensible shoes

lined up neatly as pall bearers

***

her father scoffed at time

the today show congratulated william whitted

for inhaling, exhaling, defecating for a century

it is an accomplishment to survive

it is a failure to die

two days ago, her brother – jimmy – failed

he was three years older

***

when she was four

jimmy threw a rock at her head

on purpose

she married young

her limbs scarred as worn out nylons

she married before she reached full height

she married before her underarms needed shaving

she married so someone else could watch

for flying rocks

***

her husband, too, was older

ernie drove the fire truck

sang with velvet throat

walked like a rooster

walked like a snake

depended on the legs the whiskey was wearing

***

she grew older

ernie left

jimmy shook his head

her father just shook

she has yet to bury a man

her mother and daughter were boxed up

and sent off to god

***

she is old now

she hangs from this cliff

with one knobby hand

her husband zips her dress

she combs his hair

today she throws back her first rock

it lands with a thud

somewhere above jimmy’s head

***

Gran Gran And The Brood. (Image property of Cristy Lewis.)

The Last Days


You may have escaped me,

the marble that rolled under the sofa

hidden for years.

I knew your tanned legs and feet,

the palms of your hands –

smooth as tumbled river stones –

the watch face that rested against the inside of your wrist,

your penchant for painting all the furniture

dark brown.

Your sentences often started somewhere

in the middle.

I learned to follow along,

but failed to query

when your kidneys, your heart

failed you.

I never discovered the source of  the incessant ticking,

the wound spring

controlling your breaths,

the truths that kept you going.

What did you think about

blanched and shrunken in a hospital recliner,

cable out because of a storm?

The last time I saw you,

I combed your hair,

bought you a paper,

but forgot to ask what you were thinking

the other twenty-three hours of the day.

Maybe I was afraid you’d start somewhere in the middle,

and – sometimes – a teaspoon of water

can be worse than none at all.

***

“the burial of older men” and “The Last Days” are copyright 2007 and are the sole property of Cristy Carrington Lewis.

***

The snark shall return later this week. If you liked this post, please follow me on Facebook by clicking here.

29 thoughts on “Setting The Snark Aside

  1. I don’t read much poetry and thinking that maybe I should. These both really made me feel and invoking a serious emotion like that is a triumph of your words. I like the snark but when you put it on the shelf for something like this, I don’t miss it a bit. Really, really enjoyed reading these Cristy, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much, Simon. That means a lot. Poetry’s my first love, but since I can’t make a living at it, I tend to shelve it and focus on my essays and fiction. Maybe I’ll pull out a poem or two every once in awhile if my readers will indulge me in this guilty pleasure.

  2. Hitting the “like” button was a tad underwhelming.

    Beautiful. Your artistry shows through in the words used as well as the words left out. There are breath-taking spaces in all the right spots and the silence between the words made the words all the more potent.

    Even though it was about different people in a different world, it reminded me of the way I felt when I finished reading “Half-Broke Horses”.

    Thank you for sharing your work with us.

      1. You once wrote me a very nice compliment, I think it was on one of my 100 word challenge pieces. I was wildly flattered because I thought I knew how well you wrote. Then I saw today’s post and realized that you’re far more of an accomplished writer than I had originally believed.

        Today’s post was really incredible.

  3. My grandmother died today. The timing of this post is pretty unbelievable. Thank you for writing such beautiful poetry, and for helping me to think about her in terms of herself, rather than just my own grief.

    1. Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. I was so close to my grandmother – the one whom I wrote about. My thoughts are with you, my dear. Grandmothers are magically sacred – at least mine was. I hope you’re able to make it through this time and come out feeling whole. I’m sure she would have wanted that for you.

      1. Thank you. We weren’t close, and I have a lot of regrets there. But I’ll be okay. I might have to take a couple of days off from being all funny and shit, but it’ll be fine in the long run.

      2. Take all the time that you need. I know a lot about regrets when it comes to grandparents. Life gets in the way sometimes, but I’m sure that she knew how much you loved her. Sometimes the difference in age and belief systems comes between people, but the love is always there.

  4. Beautiful, raw and deeply personal. Being a hopeless smartass, I find most poetry trite and hard to take seriously. I didn’t have a snarky thing to say about this. Well done.

    1. Thank you, Fathead. Damn, I still feel bad calling you that, but my other choice is FF. Perhaps I shall go with that in the future. I am grateful that you didn’t find my poetry trite; I was heavily influenced by a number of African American female poets (Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton and Alice Walker) who I appreciated for their direct, non-obscure approach to poetry. These women taught me to speak my story, plain and simple, and to not convolute it with words and metaphors that a normal person wouldn’t understand. I’m glad that you were able to relate to it. Apparently, the goddesses taught me well.

  5. The Like button seems inadequate here. You should definately include more poetry on your blog – your poems are as good as your snark and your snark is very good.

  6. They say that a good comedian knows where the funny is because of the pain they have endured and or witnessed. True that… I’m an even bigger fan then before…

  7. these are sincerely awesome. i can’t believe you wrote them because – shit – poetry is DIFFICULT. truly, lovely reads. they really stir up an atmosphere, in a very cool way. xo, sm

    1. Thanks, my love. Poetry was always my passion (mostly because poems are usually short – very little commitment) and it’s been delightful hearing that my readers don’t think they suck and aren’t urging me to write them another fart post again asap.

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