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Sunday, January 2, 2011

The weirdest day




I was going to post my first poem of the new year and/or a review of Dark Matters, Bowery Poetry New Year's Day Marathon, including the performance piece I did with Big Mike, Scissors and Resolutions.

Then I remembered why I feel weird on January 2nd every year, and every year it's the same - I don't know why I feel weird and then it hits me.

Jonathon Grell was born 1/2/52 and died on 2/21/95. He was the father of my son, Louis, and shot himself two days before my Louis' 21st birthday. We had not been together for years, and had not been in touch very often that particular year. I was angry at him because he and our son were estranged, and I felt that it was his fault. Despite the anger, I wanted to talk to him about it, but kept delaying the phone call; obviously, it was never made. The phone call that I did receive came at 4AM and was from Louis: "Jon passed. He shot himself in his car."

January 2nd is also the anniversary of the day that my daughter's father, Edwin Albert Gomez, died of an accidental overdose of heroin. I'm not sure whether it was the heroin that killed him, or the fact that he fell out in the bathroom and cracked his head open on the bathtub. So much for the myth of a peaceful OD. We were not together either, but were in touch. He was born on 5/15/55 and died 1/2/86, at the age of 31. Our daughter, Juliet, was 6. This time the phone call came from Carmen, Eddie's sister; I believe it was also sometime in the middle of the night.

My book, knuckle tattoos, is dedicated to the memory of both of these men, who, in their own ways, brought love and meaning to my life, and gave me the greatest gifts, my son and my daughter.

This pantoum was also written in their memory:

processions through haunted streets: a pantoum

it was always a midnight phone call
Carmen’s voice choked with tears
Eddie’s head hitting the bathroom tiles
somewhere outside a red door slammed

Carmen’s voice choked with tears
i heard her through the turquoise telephone
somewhere outside a red door slammed
my body’s impression faded from the battered couch

i heard her through the turquoise telephone
i’d been dreaming of graveside dances
my body’s impression faded from the battered couch
Jon held a gun in his tired shaking hand

i’d been dreaming of graveside dances
one hundred black umbrellas swaying in the rain
Jon held a gun in his tired shaking hand
Eddie wore a suit in a box without his shoes

one hundred black umbrellas swaying in the rain
a woman with long braids, voice lifted to the sky
Eddie wore a suit in a box without his shoes
Jon slept beneath the roses waiting for the flames

a woman with long braids, voice lifted to the sky
a procession winding slowly through the haunted streets
Jon slept beneath the roses waiting for the flames
it was always a midnight phone call

© puma perl, 11/17/08

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