LARRY’S SECRET

The slight, unassuming fellow

looked somehow familiar when

he first visited our poetry group.

He introduced himself as Larry,

and then it clicked. “Larry Jageman!”

I blurted. “Nan Mykel!” he replied.

In group he was confronted over and

over for his peculiar verse–all hosannas–

yet took it  on the chin, calmly. Larry’s

attendance at group notwithstandng

was faithful, dogged,  and devoted.

He puzzled those of us who could not fathom

the persistent  style of his writing.

Were I confronted so often

and directly, I would have deserted

the group, my confidence crumbling.

I took his tears for sentimentality,

his occasional dark glasses a puzzle.

Was it his last group session that he

said next time he would share a situation

he was in.  He always spoke softly, but

this time I was fortunately sitting next

to him and heard him say that he was

afraid of his wife leaving him and that

she was afraid of him leaving her.

His  appreciation of friends, neighbors

and family, penned for more than a year,

seemed juvenile and rote to me, blinded

by a misunderstanding of his need.

He did take away something from the group,

and kept coming back until the end.

He was buried today, and I was there.

 

AFTERTHOUGHT

Upon remembering and reflecting, the image that stays with me is of Larry and Mary rejoicing in life’s grand square dance, and a reminder that there is a higher value than  rules. It is called love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
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8 Responses to LARRY’S SECRET

  1. bethanyk says:

    Wow what a story to be part of and witness the love

    Like

  2. A lovely tribute to Larry. XX

    Like

  3. Hi Nan. A beautiful tribute.

    Like

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