Tuesday, February 9, 2010

poem of the 02.09.10

growing old with me

i call my mother

she’s the only person that i call

i call her once a week, mostly

she likes to hear my voice

in pittsburgh they got two feet snow, she tells me
she and my father just got done spending six hours shoveling

i tell her that i wish i lived near home
so that i could help them
so that they didn’t have to keep shoveling

my mother likes this

she’s been on me about moving home for years

we talk about my great aunt’s funeral
it was friday before the snow came

my mother read a eulogy
she said that everyone was crying

even your father, she says

my father is like me
it takes a lot to make him cry

i ask my mother how everyone was at the wake
she said they all were all holding up okay

how’s uncle phil? i ask

well, he was okay, my mom says
he looked tired and old

he and my great aunt had spent fifty-two years together
he just got so old going through this, my mom says.

fifty-two years will do that, i say

when we get off the phone i go into the living room
my wife is sitting there with a can of natural light
i can hear the neighbor’s television
through the walls

it is a loud, numbing sound

it is the kind of sound that wakes me up at three
in the morning
with heart palpations and a general fear of the world

i sit down with a beer
i tell my wife that i don’t know if i can
handle this bitch anymore

i think we better think about moving

this makes my wife angry
she tells me that if i’m so mad
maybe i should go and knock on the woman’s door
and tell her to turn her tv down

she says that we all make noise in this place
that she can hear me down the hall and around the bend
singing songs while i make dinner

i tell her that she’s full of shit

my wife drains her beer and tells me
that she’s not moving anywhere
that if i want to move i can go move by myself

i’ve heard this line before

she says that nearly everywhere we go
it’s me, not them

that line is new to me

so we sit there in the living room
the big game turned down low on our set
something loud and animated playing through our walls

i think about my great aunt’s funeral
the one they had before all of that snow came
i think about what my mother said about my great uncle

about how tired and old he’s gotten

then i look at my wife, pouring herself a glass of wine
from the bottle we have sitting on the floor
she looks angry and sullen
and once again i’ve caused it

we’ve been together for twelve years

she still looks young
but i wonder what they’ll be saying about her
when i’m laying there in the casket
about how tired and old she’s gotten
growing old with me
how a life with me has taken its toll on her

for the most part they’ll be right

but honey, i guess i just want to tell you
that i’m sorry right now for all of the
stress and shit that i put you through

just in case i forget

i want you to know that i’m sorry right now
instead of you thinking it
when i’m laying there, cold and gray,
done with everything
with everything finally quiet
and at peace.

just how i like it.

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