jarcher54

ELEGY FOR ANN

Ann believed in ghosts
And angels and spirits of the departed
I do not 

She told me she saw her mom, her beloved daughter, her protective big brother 
They visited her, reassured her, relayed silent messages and signs
Maybe even haunted her in a gentle, subtle kind of haunting 

She could see them plain as day 
She told me I just wasn’t looking right 

I swear as I was driving down here from Austin, as a Central Freight tractor-trailer passed me 
The silhouette of the driver, intent on navigating his rig safely through the rain and spray
Sure reminded me of someone I knew… that crewcut, those goofy glasses… 
No that couldn’t have been Kenneth Hinze. 

As I crossed the river and glanced over at the Falls on my way here 
I thought I saw the figure of a young man in faded cut-offs   
Diving off the old Ice House wall and disappearing into the foam 
Looked a little like that impish, complicated boy Tracy Wyatt I sat with
hundreds of sunny afternoons on that same wall
Talking about parties, dogs, Sergeant Pepper, or most likely girls. 
I was probably talking about Ann 

And as I detoured over Roger's Ridge to drive by the Wyatt’s place up there, 
A feisty little girl with bangs was rolling the family car down the street in the dark so dad wouldn’t hear
She looked just like Cindy Heatley at the wheel of that silent car picking up speed 
Ready to let off the clutch and roar off to pick up girlfriends and cruise Sonic Drive-In
And be a grown-up for a couple wonderful hours

If I get brave enough I may go visit Rogelio’s Cafe
Haven’t been there in way over a year
Rogelio may have forgotten me by now
and order shrimp and mole poblano enchiladas
--They aren't on the menu, you have to ask--
And sit with the ghosts of my Mom and Dad 
And wave across the street at Ricky Flores and his mom Minnie 
Rocking with big Flores smiles on the front porch of their tidy white casita
With a couple rosebushes by the steps

Now that I think of it, this town is full ghosts for me
They wave at me from places that aren’t even there anymore
From the Aquarena skyride, from the soda fountain at Wallings,
From Miller’s Drugs and Alex’s Cafe
From old Saint Mary's church that burned down so long ago 
And from the front porch of pretty much every house in town
And from the stones in this very place
Not so much a cemetery for me as a village of spirits, so many of them our parents and neighbors and teachers and even our classmates 

Time is a One-Way Street 
And Death is a One-Way Door 

But maybe not for angels and spirits
Angels don’t have overdoses, or heart disease, or ALS, or cancer… Or Hashimotos

Ann, I get it now… you visit me constantly
You haunt me gently, mysteriously, reminding me to carry on or be happy or to love  
You are the flash of neon yellow visiting my bird feeder as a goldfinch
You are the Portland shower blessing Texas this very day
You are the vibrant colors of every Texas wildflower or backyard canna lily 
You focus my eyes on beautiful things like you did the fragile lenses of your cameras

Any day now I expect her materialize and hypnotize me
For that therapy she knew I needed but so assiduously avoided. 

Comments8

  • dusk arising

    Wonderful compelling reading. Superb imagery, story telling and message.
    A really enjoyable read for me and i know I shall enjoy rediscovering this piece which is why it goes into my favourites.
    Thank you for this super entertaining read.

    • jarcher54

      That's a moving complement... I am realizing the only time I ever make to write is when there's a funeral... I am very sentimental (can you tell?) and have to work hard to keep it under control! Thanks!

    • Doggerel Dave

      It matters, of course, little whether a poem or just musings. It is rich in detail of people and places you have known which may be just images in your head or….
      Great work.

      • jarcher54

        Thanks DD... I guess if it were doggerel, you'd let me know! (-:

        • Doggerel Dave

          I'd have to know first what action you would take if you found out that in my 'umble opinion it were doggerel..... 😊

        • 2 more comments

        • Teddy.15

          An incredible piece of writing. Brilliant.

        • L. B. Mek

          its definitely a Poem! and more - meaningfully
          a rustic inking, of a life's raw nerve-ending: feeling's
          in short, its simply amazing and thank you for sharing!
          'If I get brave enough I may go visit Rogelio’s Cafe
          Haven’t been there in way over a year
          Rogelio may have forgotten me by now
          and order shrimp and mole poblano enchiladas
          --They aren't on the menu, you have to ask--
          And sit with the ghosts of my Mom and Dad
          And wave across the street at Ricky Flores and his mom Minnie
          Rocking with big Flores smiles on the front porch of their tidy white casita'

          • jarcher54

            You know how easy it is to compose when you have something specific to say! Ricky died a couple years ago of ALS... he had been taking care of his aging mother, a dear family friend of my family, so they moved into a nursing home together and died within weeks of each other. His family lived in that house for at least 70 years. Now it is abandoned and likely to be torn down for condos or something. That verse just poured out. Thanks for your thoughts.

          • Neville


            if I could hit that red heart shaped icon up there a dozen times, or more even .. it would hardly register anywhere near how much I enjoyed the journey you just took me on ........................... a real gut wrenching bit of seemingly real nostalgia .. far better than just damned good in my most humble opinion .............................. Neville

            • jarcher54

              As you know, it is hard to impossible to judge one's own work... all I know is, this came flowing out as I pondered what to say at Ann's bittersweet memorial held in a rustic outdoor covered chapel in a driving rain. Thanks for honoring me with this comment. I can drink to that.

            • hotidris

              Nice poem about your late friend, Ann.

              • jarcher54

                Thanks... when someone so real dies, you feel like they are just around the bend, like you can just take a few steps back and visit with them again. Time and space, life and death are the damnedest things!

                • hotidris

                  Okay.

                • Jon Nakapalau

                  Wonderful - inspired.

                • Jay-Lee Jane

                  speechless...no other way to express other then: i love it!

                  • jarcher54

                    That is too kind... I mean it! Too kind! I had a crush on Ann for a short part of our lives when were in middle school (7th and 8th grades). I moved away, and we just kept up a little over the years. Later in her life she was ill, divorced, and estranged from much of her family, having lost a daughter and blaming her son-in-law for it. I befriended her through Facebook and email, and just met up with her a few times before she became terminally ill. Going to her outdoor service on a chilly rainy spring day in the town where we went to school together brought so many memories flooding back, of places and especially of those who are no longer living. This poem just poured out without any effort or much conscious thought.

                    • Jay-Lee Jane

                      Aww, thats so sweet!!! i love it all the more now!!!!



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