An old, much beloved, friend of mine is facing his mother's death this week. I have shared e.e.cummings "I carry your heart in my heart" to remind him that his love for his mother and her love for him will always buoy him. I will directly share this poem with him once she has passed.
Funeral BluesStop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
I knew this friend in Minneapolis. He came to some of the five-day intensives my biz partner and I offered in the eighties. And he occasionally helped me out with some childcare. Katie liked him and was glad when he would pick her up from her great AfterCare program at the YWCA. then he'd either take her to his house, which was a cornucopia of delights for any child of any age or else take her to our house. And he would buy her sme frozen yogurt at the corner of Lake and Hennepin.
I remember so well how good it felt knowiong my little girl was in such sweet, loving hands.
And Craig, the friend I am writng about, hit it off with my mom. Not many hit it off with my challenging mom although my mom regularly said that as an artist, she felt she had much in common with 'the gays'. My baby bro is gay and mom lived with him and his partner for many years and she often voiced that lunkheaded line about how, as an artist, she had a special connection to gays. My bro and his long-gone, longtime life partner (he's dead but they broke up before he died. . . ). Craig was in the Minneapolis Gay Men's Chorus. He invited my mom to come see his Christmas show and she made a special trip to Minneapolis to see that show. She visited us regularly and Katie and I were not her only kin in the area. My mom's parents grew up in Minnesota and mom (and me, I guess) till have lots of blood kin in MN. In the early days of mom's clan, there was no birth control and always big families. Thirteen kids. Nine kids. And then they all had kids so the list of relatives neverending.
But that one time mom came to see Craig. When I ased her why she made a special trip just for one gay men's chorus show, she repeted her grating line about as an artist, she had much in common with 'the gays' but she also said, and no one who knew him, or knows him, would ever deny this, Craig is a sweet peach.
So his mom must be a super sweet lady if she raised such a sweetie.
I wonder if my Ktie remembers Craig. I also wonder if she has any appreciationo for the intereting parade of humans we shared our lives with. No suburban vanilla for me. I think she longed for upscale, suburban vanilla but, geez, how many people does she know ever had a deformed dwarf named Cheryl as her babysitter? And does it ever cross her mind that by exposing her to the wide range of humans that I did that I was opening her world in ways few children get.
I love this Auden poem. Maybe Katie will read it when she learns I have died. Although how would she learn of my death? No one in my life now even knows her name. Everyone knows I have a daughter who shuns me named Katie but no one I know knows her last name. Why would they?