Poetry & Prayers

Some of Eva’s Beliefs
Believe in teaching children and students of all ages,
Evaluate a person’s worth not by appearances or monetary value, but by the intrinsic meaning and merit of what she does and her dedication to it,
Give yourself relaxation, give yourself downtime,
Be nice to each other; say nice things,
Act with kindness, respect, and politeness,
Write thank you notes;
Be a good person.

For Eva
It is Friday night after a sunny day, and everything
Is awful, and I am cooking
Chayote and bell pepper and shallot
And your sister-in-law, my wife of fourteen, now almost
Fifteen years comes home from work and says, “That smells good,
It reminds me of Austin” – I went there once with her when she
Was some months from giving birth the first time, it was
Her birthday in late winter like early spring, and I had
Nothing at all on my mind but becoming a father.
I’m listening to Brad Mehldau, and she says, “This is nice,
What is it?” It sounds like the Beatles, a bit, and Brahms.
We brought both driving up to Truckee, and I chose
Sgt. Pepper over the Requiem – “Denn alles Fleisch,
Es ist wie Gras”, which I had sung that spring with Deb,
The baritone notes filling my lungs, and she kept sitting down
On the risers, she was so pregnant, and you
Had just had your son, and we were about to be the echo;
And already he’s taller than us. And the vegetables
Are well on their way to caramelizing but still
I’m pouring the very last few drops of oil
From the plastic bottle like a libation into the pan,
And I can feel the reed, the brass, the saxophonist’s breath
Resonating in my hand.
I have been learning
How to say “I give” and “I receive” in Japanese,
“Ageru” and “kureru”, how to ask for favors or not,
And my phone app, as the tamales steam,
Has me translate, “I do not need to write a letter to her.”
But I do.
I need to tell you that the bourbon you tried
Over Thanksgiving, just the other day, was better than
The other three. That Mehldau is playing a waltz,
And it seems that you and Steve are waltzing,
More elegantly than I at least have ever waltzed,
And he is weeping, and the music is saying,
“We will waltz over our tears, sure-footed;
And we will swim as we weep, the cold water
Holding us up over infinity, and we will run
As we weep, and we are all aflame
With anger and we
Will not be reconciled with our loss
But our lungs are full of air as we run
Past the green hills, and the miles are bearing,
Stride by stride, the bitterness away.” I want
To tell you that pinole turns out to be
Ground corn, mixed with cocoa, agave,
Cinnamon, and vanilla, naming this valley where one
Can almost hear your laughter cycling first
To the summit of yet another hill, terraced
As if to grow every last blade of grass
Possible, verdant despite all that all of us have lost,
Verdant as fresh paint and leading
The road curving onward farther than we can see.

Philip Hart

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

From “Death is Nothing At All, by Henry Scott Holland

To laugh often and much: to win
the respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children, to
leave world a better place,
to know even one life has breathed
Easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mommy in a Glass
Oh shank lank ank ya ploke ya,
Oh shank ya shoke ploke ploke.
Ba shemp pa Mommy in a shahk,
A Mommy in a glass.
A Mommy in everything I’m gonna do,
A shing a shake a loo,
Ba lei lei shik a loo,
Shop la lock link link.
Ba shahk a lick a loo bah shap la link,
A Mommy in a Glass.

Theo C. Holtzman