4/20 poems by Captain B

Almost home

Sandman in September?
Santa Claus?
None of the four
could remember his name
Juan? João? Gian? Jean?Jan?
None could identify his accent
They only met him once
and didn’t pay much attention
until he’d already gone

Virginia or Ginny or Ginger
Roberta or Bobs
Lynn and Hank
could all still walk
albeit with canes or walkers
Ginger and Hank preferred canes
Bobs and Lynn needed the extra support
of the walkers

It had been some sort of Friday special
Fun day at the home
There was a scrabble tournament
but everybody knew Marge knew all the
two-letter words, q-words without u
the three-letter words often formed from
those cabalistic two-letter words

There was a magic show
They’d discussed that one
but none of them liked crowds
Bobs’ hearing aid would reverb painfully
at the eruption of laughter or any clamor

There was basket weaving
forget about it

None except Hank
liked John Wayne
and growing up
all had seen plenty of
Saturday matinees starring nothing but
C’mon McLintock
is McNificent!
whined Hank
All three women
could clearly see
the movie poster
from where they sat
shaking their heads

it didn’t really matter what it was
as long as the four
could get into a group together

The ‘Benefits of Breathing’ group
had room for seven
but no one had signed up
so the two widows
and the couple, Lynn and Hank
married some seventy plus years
asked Ginger, the steadiest hand
to scribble their names in

Breathe? Breathe?
Hank grumbled
I breathe all the damn time
been doing it for years
What do i need some ninny
to do? Play me like an accordion?

When they were all seated in the circle
they were surprised to learn that
Juan or Gian or whatever it was
was more or less
their age
wrinkled and white headed
no doubt
but nimble
When Lynn’s scarf fell from the crossbar
of her walker
João or Jean snatched it from the floor
just as it barely touched
He didn’t even bend at the knees
Hank remarked
And quick!
Bobs exclaimed

It was the usual
close your eyes
soles of the feet planted on the floor
straight backed, chin down
the first few breaths in through the nose
out slowly through the mouth
Then they were urged to only breathe
through the nose
long, deep, stretched out, steady

Did he say to breathe through the spine?
Hank whispered to Lynn

Now just listen to my voice
as you try to remember
every detail of a memory
any memory
(he didn’t say good or bad
pleasant or otherwise)
How old were you?
How did you feel mentally, physically, emotionally?
Were you indoors? Outdoors? Where?
What season was it? What was the weather like?
Were you alone?
Or the people you were with, who were they?
What were they like? What was their fragrance?
What was their demeanor?

Saint John of the Equilateral Cross
went on with the questions
The four participants hardly noticed
Ginger was with her immigrant father, Enrico
as he tended to his bees on a beautiful sunny day in May
-le api, gli alveari- only a few words she could still remember
nearly ninety years before and back east
Lynn was at the lake she grew up on
with all her siblings
It was summer, sun blazing, hot
and why they were swimming and splashing and diving
off the raft. She cried both tears of joy as well as sorrow
Some of those siblings had passed away not speaking to one another
Hank was buying flowers and had just cashed a check from his roofing job
at a corner store where an old Mr. Abrams always wanted to talk baseball
But this afternoon he had a date, the very first with Lynn in fact, the cold drizzle
did nothing to douse his spirits. He was elated and told Mr. Abrams he’d be by the following day
Bobs was indoors, an office, third floor, ink and paper smells
She seemed to remember it being not too spectacular weatherwise
although she was happy in any weather and more so fixated on the trees, the flowers, the colors- she appreciated them all- in the fashion of the clothes of the passerby
the aesthetic value- yay or nay- of any random billboard
and this afternoon in question, she had just received a raise
and accolades as the rose she had painted had been selected
as the trademark emblem that a popular department store at the time
would go on to use for over forty years

As they came back to the present day and hour
Sandman or Saint Nick or John or João or whoever
bid them a polite farewell
though they hardly remembered
each a bit dazed but also euphoric

The four talked and talked
all through lunch
all forfeited their usual naps
and sat in the shade under a poplar
none had really noticed until then
(they had that nice boy, Marcus,
set out some lawn chairs)
They chatted through dinner
and throughout the evening
until all were happily tired

Every day after that
they met
They would sit just as they did initially
A new memory would be re-lived, recapitulated
and they would share and compare
and pass the days with purpose
each preparing in a harmonious way
to sooner or later

anti-hero twins

they have found their place and purpose and so are allowed to stay
they are counterweight to provide my compass firm ground for accurate reading
they are mine to stand on and to keep underfoot
they are the Anti-Hero Twins, Provocateur and Saboteur
they were the ones who taught me about lowering the defenses and throwing aside the shield
they are the ones given to fucking, deep penetration, and the reason i came up with nothing
but a sore ass, mouth full of dirt, and a barely wheezing constitution on more than one occasion
they will be the ones i will always relegate a portion (and just in what thereof depends) of my attention to let me know (to better help me know) just where i stand


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro