POEMS TO GROW OLD BY
Feeling rather “old” today, so I culled five poems to grow old by from the archives. Am reposting them before they become passé.
“September…and these few precious days, I will spend with you…these precious days, I will spend with you…” ---From “September Song”
(For Veronica on her Birthday, September 17, 2012)
CUP ON THE BENCH
“Favorite spot,” Nguyen Cao Tran pointed
To the bench on Lincoln Green before
He waved me bonjour the Montreal way.
“Favorite spot for wife and me…drink
Tim Horton Coffee from across,” he winked,
Now unafraid his accent might betray
A Viet Minh rasp from Saigon days,
A shrapnel buried on his nape: “Still smoke
Camel sticks from GI Joe friend in Frisco.”
He looked away when I remembered to ask
About Nguyen Bao. “Isn’t she walking
With you this morning? It’s spring, mon vieux!
He mumbled: “She gone…far away now,”
And shuffled away, his knapsack slung
Like a rifle crooked on his flaccid hand.
A single cup of Roll-up-the-Rim teetered
On the bench the next day while I waited.
No cups on the ground, the bench was naked.
LUCY DOES NOT
LIVE HERE ANYMORE
Caminnare. Fare una passeggiata.
Eh, come stai? She shot back looking askance.
Perched birdlike on her stroller, she inched
Her way to the middle of the cul de sac ---
Where I tarried, a wide wave our ritual,
I called out, Come va, Nonna?
Her andador tilted off the cobbled strada,
She stared blankly, but smiled nonetheless
In the courtly manner she never failed to show
To neighbours and strangers alike.
Her sallow skin becomes her regal face,
I thought, but the same face furrowed,
Her eyebrows arched impatiently then;
She demanded: Are you the police?
Or are you my son with a Florida tan
Hiding as usual from me? I called them
From 2441 because I could not find
My house, nor my keys. Was just walking,
Was just enjoying the sun for once.
Crazy Calabria weather. Rain. Sun. Wind.
Sun. Snow. Cold. Hot. Aiee... who are you?
“2441 is your house, Nonna. And you have
A daughter who will be here tomorrow.
And this is Mississauga. I am Alberto
With the nipotes Chloe and Louie at 2330.”
Aieee...dolce angelo! My angels.
How are they? E come va, amore mio?
Caminare. Fare una passeggiata.
O, com `e bello, O sole bello!
But you will help me find my home,
Won’t you? Won’t you? Amore?
A lilt on her voice, she flirted rather coyly.