July 8, 2008

                                                                                                                                        for my mom and for, of course, my father 

                                                                                                                                    July 8, 2008:

for reasons salacious perhaps the previous day, or perhaps because all by himself my father could, sui generis, transport himself in a mystical leap of his otherworldly essence quite independently of any other merely material considerations and imbue me readily with his radiant spirit, I awoke the next morning, his birthday, thus imbued, radiant of spirit, in a mood ready to celebrate

I read of course my Proust first, my morning prayer, followed with a few pages of Thoreau’s inspired “Walden” for poise, purpose and poetry

my morning coffee steamed at my side, golden and aromatic, my eiderdown pillow plushly propped up my back, a feather bedspread lightly cushioned my upturned knees where my book lay, a finger slowly savouring each flip of each precious page, while a bird at my window surely sang precise notes to the morning sun

then up from my devotions I called my mother to find out if she’d herself remembered, she hadn’t, the date, she remorsefully said, had entirely slipped her by

no matter, I retorted, allowing for no recriminations, tonight we’ll celebrate, it had been nineteen years at least since the last time

she set about her day, I mine, until we’d meet for dinner

                                                                                                                              meanwhile I called my sister, who’d of course remembered, sang even her song of his that she recalled he would sing apparently always at his birthday, my mom remembered it too when I asked, o it’s the eighth of July and Easter Sunday too, to indicate a day of high celebration

my nephew was not home but I left him, and his, loving words

my aunt then, and then another aunt, his only remaining sisters able to answer the phone, another would not be easily reached at her nursing home, might not have remembered even her brother, I did not try

I drew the line as well at cousins, they are dispersed and abound

but a friend who’d lost herself a father only a year earlier, I made a point of calling, in sympathetic communication, she was not home, I told her machine instead she was an angel, she’d hear when she got home 

but already there was a buzz, and I’d been busy setting it, to my already glowing delight

                                                                                                                                   along the street as I made my way to a dentist’s appointment I thought, my dad will appear today, somehow, he always does when I call, when I listen, and cocked an ear, kept an eye out, sharpened all my even extrasensory senses

but right then and there only the trees, as far as I could tell, were imparting, though mostly only to heaven, the leafy poems that they were writing there, about life, about the seasons, about transformation, about time, while we under their shelter and shade are busy especially running errands, leaving the patterns of their intricate shadows unnoticed mostly on our walk, walks, scrutable of course but for many hieroglyphic, esoteric, arcane, like for many for that matter many of our standard poems

I marveled at their rhythm, rejoiced at their rhyme, stood still to contemplate their wisdom, stood reverent before their poise and grace, at which they sibilantly sighed of course, sending me so inspired along

in all of this however I could only indiscriminately yet detect a father, my father

I pressed stalwartly on

                                                                                                                                 today’s my father’s birthday, I blurted out to my dentist when he asked how I was, before I could even think of what I was saying

forthwith both he and his assistant put a cloud of dark condolence on, a pall was cast over each their ebullience, I felt the sun leave in an instant each their spirit, but I would have none of it, my father brought only joy, had been offering me only that for years now, I thought their response perhaps instinctive, certainly and graciously full of heart, but off the mark, there was no reason whatsoever to court sadness, none at all

I explained my relation to my father

before he died, dad, I said, let me know from the other side, I am your son, I’ll hear you, later of course I heard, often when I would be praying for something

at first I’d bargain, I’ll do this for that, I’d ply, then one day when my mom could not, she said, quite make out that he was there for her, like a revelation I replied, like a very inspiration I stated, ask for something, he’ll have to answer you, you’ll know then, and not only you’ll know but he’ll be overjoyed to be able to help you, to be with you, for you to be with him, for you to recognize he’s there, whereupon of course I was overwhelmed by tears of utter gratitude and wonder, I’d lived long with this truth already, but had never put it into words  

                                                                                                                                        a drill sat poised at my mouth, I suddenly noted, but hushed apparently by the Elysian nature of my account, Elysium, that mythic abode of the honourable dead, I deferred but was encouraged to tell on, therefore, aware that my teeth were presently to be done, briefly as I could, I recounted from my store representative miracles, though I warned, my miracles abound, I see them everywhere, to be at the foot of not one but two rainbows, for instance, with someone at that point who needed one, hadn’t been too sure of any till now, how much of a miracle was that, and that was an essentially easy one, others were intricate, textured and subtle, not as crisp, clear, iridescent as two incontrovertible rainbows

a burning bush, yes, a burning bush, a tree as though on fire, after a walk I had with God, fiery orange and bristling, or the purple aura of buds, their nascent energy, gleaming in the dewdrops along a brittle branch not quite recovered still from hard winter another night as I walked home, when God wasn’t there for me especially, just omnipresent as usual, they were catching the pulse and colour of yet unborn blooms, the glowing advent of their pink and precious incarnation

                                                                                                                                       but these I didn’t even bring up

I told of a dinner in Vienna when my dad showed up in the guise of a melody, a “serenata” my mom would listen to when he passed away, with birds in it, the twitter of birds to decorate with garlands of their own ornithological music a pastoral piece for Classical orchestra, it has remained for nineteen years on her turntable, but nowhere anywhere else had I ever heard it before, she among only a few family and friends, who’d been moved by her being moved mostly

we’d been separately to the same restaurant in Vienna many years earlier, at separate times, a memorable historical place, the oldest in Vienna, the fare hearty and traditional, the service inspired, superb, the atmosphere scintillating, we’d contrived my mother and I to return together when it was happening I would be there, and she would meet me for the occasion

we were chatting over wine when my mother raised a finger to the music that was playing lightly, it was my father, a thousand miles away from home, joining us, we raised our hearts to love and basked as warmly in the golden moment as in its candlelight

the time in Buenos Aires also when a stone angel had become a man, a man become an angel, for where is the divide, I always ask, between the two, a mime so good, so convincing, I’d mistaken him for a sculpture, who’d then incrementally begun to move when a girl dropped a coin in an adjoining coin box for him, which indeed had puzzled me on what I’d thought was public art

a friend had asked if I had a coin, which he gave to a young girl for the coin box, a beautiful, in and of itself, act, I’d thought, of saintly charity, she dropped it in, the figure to my consternation moved, I trembled, beheld amazed the transsubstantiation  

                                                                                                                                         but it was time to return to my teeth

those are just the bare bones, I said, of those miracles, they become resplendent even more in more detail, and I let him enter my mouth, then, gagged and throttled, did not prevent him, couldn’t’ve, wouldn’t’ve, from wondering aloud about some of his own perhaps similar instances, old ladies, he said, mostly, who’d on occasion flit by, in the corner of an eye, that he’d noted and dismissed as too improbable, ask them instead for something next time, I said, you’ve excluded the possibility of their being for too long, time for something different

it was                                                                                                                                    

what’s got a hold of me, I suddenly wondered, there in the dentist’s chair, blathering away despite even the dental paraphernalia hanging or hovering at my mouth, and with such insistence, and all morning

in Homer the Olympian gods speak and act through people, take over their spirit, get them to do their bidding on earth

this was my father, I suddenly saw, with more delight than consternation, laying claim to my filial respect and heart

I’m doing the Lord’s work here, I merrily gurgled, I’m doing the work of the Lord, for it had been a short step only a while back already now from my dad to my Creator, from my dad to my God, who shimmered interchangeably according to the occasion, according to the ground for my call

I was elated, thought this might be even grace, why not, I am as well a child of God, I countered, we all are

later I knew it was

                                                                                                                                     but let me step back

we had a wonderful dinner, my mom and I, beneath an only blue sky on the ivied terrace of an Italian restaurant, drank expensive wine, ate succulent antipasto, pasta, toasted the idyllic night, walked home along inspired streets of summer

I’ve thought, what could he have been trying to say apart from hello, how are you, and maybe, not maybe but surely, o it’s the eighth of July and Easter Sunday too, celestial messages ought to be weightier than that, I reasoned, loftier

I believe that what he was trying to say was, there is a heaven, there’s heaven, purpose and hope, that July the eighth was Easter Sunday too, in fact, a day of also revelation, as all days are if you want them to

                                                                                                                                          so spake, I believe, my father