Innocent, lazy, frightened and mortal again

by Michael McNeilley
My old man died of pneumonia, it was his heart, other shit but pneumonia took him. He was in Phoenix, I was in Colorado it wasn't that far but he didn't tell me, and mom didn't tell me, though she knew it was coming. They know it's coming, they get old and they know but they won't say. I'm reminded again today, that ignoring things won't stop them happening. So you delay, tell yourself it won't when you know damn well it will. Here on the west coast, San Pedro was never that far away. We sat in a Pasadena bar that night last October and said shit, I got his address, let's go see him. No, Christ, every damn fool drunk boy poet does that. He's sick of it. And we weren't boys anymore so we drank and ate and didn't go. And now we dangle in the tournefortia of our regrets, solemn as daybreak after tequila and wine, cracks appearing in our hand- held plans, now our phones ringing, ringing one another, he died, he died, pneumonia, leukemia, he's gone. A letter, a phone call, a couple of poems, a drawing or two, not nearly enough. It was coming we knew and yet it took us by surprise, as if death, alive, pulled up out front, a blue smoking Pinto, and some guys got out laughing, passing a bottle, looked under the hood, tossed the bottle on the lawn, slammed their doors and drove on, gone like the last butterfly of spring. And we stand exposed like azaleas to bees, waiting for something that will never arrive. Michael McNeilley Charles Bukowski 1920-1994 peace