© Thom Amundsen 7/2020
we ought not imagine
The afterlife we’re told
a creation of our own need
Yet if it weren’t true
then these tears that
fall would not be real.
I have conversations with my dad,
the difficult questions,
the hard to know answers,
I know he’s thinking for me.
I suppose what he might say
standing here in the room,
is the same answer he gives me
from faraway where he remains
Waiting, hoping, wishing are all
positive realities toward doing.
It was the changing season,
we were all crying,
dumbfounded and surreal
the moments ahead
He was heart-broken
no place to stand or sit or feel,
just simple pain,
always and forever,
misty eyed and helpless
to the reality of the human condition.
He’d been tested,
he’d been traumatized,
ships passing in the night,
his words to soothe,
his reaction lost in agony.
How could the world ever be normal again,
when his son had left to travel,
a consoling brother,
a relative of sorts in marriage,
in a consoling gesture,
suggested a distraction.
How might he react any other way,
then lose faith in humankind,
when the soul of his world,
remained lost in the mechanics.
There is heartbreak to be noted,
when one’s dream
while all of those around
have no idea the strain.
The picture window,
my guide to the world around me,
could be a rainy day,
I watch the slick survival of a city,
might now sunshine cast shadows,
while domesticated bird houses
offer a gallery,
for my child-like eyes,
to always wonder why.
Soft fabric of the green sitting chair,
matched the other nearby,
always vacant to my stare,
yet, I could rely upon its permanence,
never to leave me,
always after eyes searching the world,
step back in to my shelter,
and there the matching green …
There’s always something
about the static in life.
I once was a young,
who only felt tears when
necessary rites of passage,
would slow my way.
Eventually I’d find windows
to imagine, take me away
to different places,
my mind a brilliant coaster,
never letting me stay in one place
forever too long.
Sitting differently today,
the furniture rearranged,
wishing all those moments
I wanted to get away,
would somehow return,
I could then seen them both,
sitting with smiles,
the usual way,
because back then,
I never felt that breeze.
The picture window,
a different set of eyes,
glancing through their destiny,
wondering about the other side,
where the glass is pummeled
by the occasional stray bird
trying to find their way,
and wings drift away.
I remember one afternoon,
listening to the rain,
to always stay the same.
I always looked forward to the late hours,
the night flying by with dialogue and absurdities,
everything we could say we believed, and more importantly,
We did delight in knowing we could look in each other’s eyes,
well into the twilight,
all of us, whoever might have chosen the time,
or simply allowed ourselves to be drawn in,
that was the key,
we knew always we wanted to be there.
These are the holidays we would request
each other’s company,
my sister, brothers, and mom,
our sister’s, children and the occasion of relatives …
so current on everything we knew.
to be important in everyone’s lives.
With dad in the background, an occasional chuckle,
he’d pass out the a beverage with endearing blue eyes,
we all heard his screams inside,
the delight of our lives, he is a beautiful man.
We were, are, can be the beautiful people,
the family that smiles, tells jokes, lives lives with uncanny candor.
These are the nights when time would value,
only the shared nostalgia of wanting the laughs
in the history of our lives.
These are the holidays when love does always,
compete well with the nature of our own,
sweet recall, when the essence of everything we believed,
in the realm of the human condition,
could suddenly find the energy
to contribute the next line,
so the stories never found a way to end …
How close do we come
where it is that we belong,
we sudden realize
we remember a song, a laugh,
a sort of posture always held true.
If I could see you in the manner I feel you,
would that be all I need.
There’s so much more
beyond the memory of your kindly heart.
So often can I recall your beauty,
just in the Grace of your being,
I see so many faces
they exist around me,
I always have you nearby.
If I ask, you’ll go away,
so I find myself
using peripheral vision,
my ideal is to not frighten you away,
with some mortal insecurity.
Did you know I am working on bringing you back,
well it’s a facade,
a sort of well put together imagination,
brings you to mind,
every time I hear the word
With only a few drops to touch the patio blocks
i can return home again,
to picture window mornings watching the birds
sift through the rain in natural habitat,
I do recall the street became gradually river like,
creating the later streams in culverts
home-made sailboats would venture throughout
the city neighborhoods entertaining
all the children that right now were waiting
patiently, for that sun burst that shouted mom’s
‘Yes, go outside and play now.’
While rains soaked our bodies to such a degree,
we might eventually accept nature’s wrath
sweet and warm like in summer’s romantic fire
while together we strolled watching smiles
knowing we are drenched to the bone alive
anticipating that lentil soup in the afternoon,
the wet paths that squished with each step
would cause an occasional stomp
a fit of laughter and the chase while finding
a new pool to match previous success.
When sitting by the river with my line in water,
as the light mist begins to show
its true mystery along the riverbank’s shadows
I will remember you so precisely,
fishing pole in hand and teaching me your patience
I could stand for a minute while you
always managed to pull a beautiful brown
from a back yard creek small enough
to only imagine a child’s homemade sailboat.
Outside, the rains will cleanse our natural world with steady
rhythms in sound and purpose, while I (we) imagine fond.
* photo found on scienceabc
Can I talk to you,
can you remind me about
how simple life can be,
I want to see you standing there,
looking serene with your smile,
just knowing it will be alright.
that might help me you know,
to accept that I can be okay.
Right now Dad,
I can barely see, but you taught me
the keyboard, and I learned how to play,
watching you Dad.
I miss you
I miss you so much,
I could cry,
and I probably will,
because really Dad,
you are beautiful,
I wish I could tell you that tonight,
I’m hoping I just did …
What I knew, at least what you told me
while glancing your eyes across the horizon,
a small plane ascending over the hill,
and you’d duck your head
while driving the mail to the post office.
We had our ritual Sunday nights,
nothing unusual, just a drive to drop off your
The part that I loved though was when you would
tell me about Saipan … that peaceful story.
I was only a kid then, so I didn’t know about war.
I hadn’t understood the many nights your cold body
withstood the temperatures
while you and your buddies protected our soil.
I hadn’t known anything about war
because you shared stories of peace,
and camaraderie in a deep forest,
never knowing when you might face
a world no one understood, not even your own.
But now today as we traveled down a country road,
and a small twin engine slid across the sky,
I watched your head duck with eyes looking askance,
I knew then what I’ve only begun to know now.
I have become my father, well not exactly
anything close to what I recall. The man
who guided my heart and soul through time
without me realizing at in life how bold,
his actions always were on my behalf.
His actions always were on my behalf
honorable as I recall, the spirit of dad
suddenly there and sometimes gone again
where I often did not know but mattered little
for you were my dad, and I knew you were
standing right by my side whenever I faced
a value, a circumstance, a desire, a passion.
I wish I had taken the time to ask you then
what it might feel like today, back when …