I wrote the following two poems the last time I was at the Bass/Laux/Millar poetry workshop at Esalen, Big Sur in August 2007. Although I still consider them works in progress, it's time to give them the light of day as well.
I wrote the second poem for Paul. Tomorrow would be his 37th birthday.
Ice Cream Party for One
He opens the freezer door
every night at 10.
What will it be tonight?
The rum raisin, the natural vanilla bean with chocolate chunks,
the caramel swirl.
He does not discriminate.
Even the coffee in the back,
probably old and stiff, will do.
He takes out two,
maybe three, containers,
sets them on the red granite counter
and takes out a bowl
from the cabinet above his head.
His fingers curl
under the rim of each container
and pull until the top gives way.
With his serving spoon at the ready
he mounds scoop after scoop
into the bowl
licking his fingers, one at a time,
as he goes.
Finally, he walks to the table,
pulls out his chair
and sits hunched over
spooning the cold ice cream
into his mouth.
Soon I hear the last scraping sound
of spoon against bowl, spoon against bowl
over and over
until all the melted liquid is gone.
He walks back to the kitchen,
leaves the bowl and spoon
unrinsed on the counter
and goes to bed.
I Took You With Me
I took you with me this morning
past the big house and the school.
As we walked,
the gray sky hung over us
I took you with me past the garden.
Black crows squawked and called to us
but didn’t interrupt
as we listened to your
Music for Yoga,
the last tunes you wrote for H
You left us eight years ago
with a box of your music
each tape marked by hand.
The jazz melodies sound so true
you could be playing them today.
I took you with me up to the highway.
We inhaled the pine and eucalyptus,
looked out to the colorless sea,
and felt the chill through our clothes.
I took you with me this morning.