Thursday, April 2, 2009

Poem: Carey

Another oldie but goody. I wrote this poem about six years after my Grandfather passed away. My Grandfather was an amazing human being. Words fail to describe exactly what he meant to me and my family. When someone like him passes, it is a light going out of this world. Thank God I believe in the world to I know his light is not lost only shining in a different, better place.

I love you Grandpa.


I remember that day when Mom called and said
You didn’t make it
She told me that You held her hand and died
You asked her to fly with You and to bring me too

I would have found a way
Like Icarus I would have made wings of wax and feathers
Or of mud and leaves—anything that would have lifted me
With You on a flight to the sun
I wouldn’t have been afraid for my wings to melt
Because you were Grandpa Carey
And You would have carried me

You would have carried me like you did when you were alive
Tucked underneath your arm or huddled beneath one of your stories
You would have carried me like You did our family
That you supported until your lungs gave out from the asbestos
That you carried even with your laughter wheezing from you chest
Oxygen life lines in your nose
You swore that my chuckle was contagious
That as a baby I laughed so hard and deep that you had to laugh too
But it was You, always You that gave to me
You filled my mind and my stomach with your wit and buttermilk pancakes
Your gentle hugs and callused hands that smelled like roofing tar and sawdust
It was you that knew all my secrets
Would ask me, “How is Grandpa’s little girl?”
I would answer, “Grandpa, I’m a boy,” and You would smile
Maybe not understanding gay but understanding different
White man/native man caught between the rez and reality
And You loved me just the same

It’s been six years since You left us
72 months since I’ve heard your voice
More than 2000 days since You went home
This poem has been 52,560 hours in the writing because I still look for You
On holidays
I sit in my spot on the couch
And look for You in your chair at the end of the kitchen table
Where the floor slants downward the foundation settling into the dirt
Sometimes I hear You playing solitaire and You swore you never cheated
But You always won
Sometimes I play cribbage with your ghost, and I remind it of the one time I beat You
And as usual You pretend not to hear
Just like when we would watch Wheel of Fortune together
And You’d play deaf if I guessed the puzzle before you did

I pray to you sometimes when I think God is too busy to listen,
Because you were never too busy for me
And sometimes when I think I can’t make it
I can hear your rocking chair creaking
And the sound of Price is Right with no TV in sight
I remember the day that we watched the black televangelist on KDLH
You announced that someday that could be me
I shook my head, and you said that with faith I could anything
With faith I could move mountains
With faith I could make the blind see
With faith I could change the world
But faith hasn’t brought You back to me

Faith hasn’t brought back the only man I’ve ever loved unconditionally
And sometimes I get so angry that I never got to say goodbye
That I won’t go to Your grave because I’m afraid that the finality of stone nourished by your body
Will take away the faith I have left
I am trying to understand why He took You
When at times like today I need You
I need You because you are the only Father I have ever known
And while you art in Heaven, I’m here alone
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
And the courage to say goodbye
To the man who carried me
And who carries me still


  1. Brandon, thank you for this poem. Somehow, I think the poem itself is wings you've made to reach your Grandfather. So beautiful.

  2. Thank you ;-). My grandpa pops around from time to time...usually when I am doing something I am not supposed to be doing...that's when I feel him the most. Letting me know I am going to get it when I get to the other side. I hope that won't be for another 60 years or so.


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