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One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.
How neatly a cat sleeps,
sleeps with its paws and its posture,
sleeps with its wicked claws,
and with its unfeeling blood,
In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road--long bamboo huts
Noplace to shit but sand channel ruts
'Angels of the love affair, do you know that other,
the dark one, that other me? '
1. ANGEL OF FIRE AND GENITALS
For a Child of 1918
My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
Why do you do what you do?
I am human, your brother, your sister
A mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, a friend
I KNOW YOUR HISTORY
By Moses Abolade, de Peace Poet
You forgot your History, because you are illiterates
The decision was to work at the Old Folks home
Working the night so he could be alone
Walking his rounds in the semi dark
And on the hour at his station to make his mark
Poems about Fathers and Grandfathers
I translated the first six Native American poems for my father, Paul Ray Burch Jr., when he chose to enter hospice and end his life by not taking dialysis …
Recalling the silly advice my grandfather so very often gave, don't take any wooden nickels he would say.
Throughout my life I would repeat, the same silly advice my loving grandfather gave.
The child asked his father an awkward question,
the father himself was not aware of the answer,
he told the child to be shut up and not to ask such vulgar questions,
and that when the would grow young he would himself understand it.
My grandfather is in his garden when the Christian comes to visit.
He can see how well his neighbours who believe in Jesus Christ are doing.
My grandfather says that he is doing well too.
That's an advance payment, the Christian says, because Jesus Christ assumes that later a man like my grandfather will start believing in him.
If he believed in Jesus Christ he would do better than his neighbours, because he is a better man and works harder.
He is sure of it, the Christian says, and could my grandfather possibly cut down the biggest tree in his garden, as an advance payment.
My grandfather asks why, he doesn't believe in the tree, or do his neighbours think he does.
The Christian says that the neighbours don't think that my grandfather believes in the tree, but that the tree still helps him.
They are stupid people, the Christian says, if Jesus Christ didn't take pity on them they would be on the street and starving.
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