“He is Not” is at the heart of my order of things.
That’s about “the old man” who died in 2006 though it’s not about him in any particular sort of way, excepting perhaps the line:
He left the room without making a sound
Nobody noticed till the orderly made his rounds…
That is true and particular to the old man (though I am sure also to many others who die in those “homes”). For the rest it’s much more generic.
Somehow he just slipped out of time
Leaving only his remains behind
An odd assortment of odds and ends
Fingernails, toes, teeth and skin….
Those are pretty generally the remains of anybody. So the emphasis ends up being much more on the “not” and not on the “He.”
You can’t say that he moved on
Cause there’s no place for him to be gone
He didn’t fly high. He didn’t sink low
No, he didn’t have nowhere to go…
When one is no longer, one is NOT, and that’s that.
Oh time is a mighty tide
It carries us far it carries us wide
It is the beating heart of the stars…
If you can still see’em you still are.
We should occasionally remember that.
BUT HE’S NOT.
OH HE’S NOT
AIN’T NO X GONNA MARK THE SPOT WHERE HE’S NOT.
That last bit–ain’t no x–may, with its postmodern under erasure feel, be overly clever. But I still like it.
I started this blog back in 2006 I think because, at the time, we, my brothers and I, knew our father, W.B. was at death’s door. His death and the next year Joan’s, our mothers, and the events surrounding both seemed to have given me or fueled me with some sort of energy that led me, especially in the early phases of this blog, to remember and then recount moments from my childhood and teenage years.
But things have changed. I think about doing a blog entry, and either nothing or too much comes to mind and I don’t write anything.
The original energy is not there, and I think it significant that this year the anniversaries of the deaths of Joan and W.B. slipped by me without acknowledgement on the blog. The anniversary of W.B.’s death slipped by me until a couple of days after it has passed. Then I remembered it.
He died February 7, 2006.
Joan died April 10, 2007.
That my blog energy has changed doesn’t mean though that I have come to terms with the death of either exactly or my ongoing and changing feelings about them. Freud said the most significant event in a man’s if is the death of his father. I don’t know that he is right, but even if he is half or a quarter right that would suggest the death of one’s father is a kind of defining event, not something easily overcome, resolved, or put in mothballs.
Here are Joan and Bill at the Delridge House in front of the Delridge fireplace. I do remember a time when W.B. sported a mustache. I think this picture was probably taken in the late 80’s.