We Are Gathered Here Together

In loving memory of my family…

My grandfather,
he ordered black coffee,
a soup and salad before his meal,
steak and potatoes,
and always leaving room for dessert
at buffets on the other side of town

A routine meal
to this day
is remembered
as my favorite meals with him

My Dad loved on his Alaskan crab legs
with a side of melted butter
While Mom ordered chicken
at a seafood restaurant
She never offered to pay
while Auntie told us,
‘Don’t take it for granted,
she should say ‘Thanks’’

A routine meal
that to this day
is remembered
as our family meals together

The holidays would arrive suddenly,
every holiday,
as our family rushed off to Sunday service.

Was this excursion a last minute decision?
Is the calendar right? Always arriving late,
we discreetly sneaked into the pews.
With a family of five, surely no one would notice.
But they did, they always notice.

A routine holiday
that would years later
be remembered
as our holidays together

Every year,
every holiday,
every birthday,
the same restaurants,
the same routine,
the same church service.

But at least we gathered
in the familiar ways we knew
what was to come.
We could count on those moments,
those familiar moments.

Now we look back
without the chance to relive
all those memories,
without the words of togetherness
without bickering
without reconciling
No more chasing each other around the yard
No more climbing up the tree, my favorite tree
All that is left are these memories
While isolating from our high-strung family

Now we pass the memories on
while making new ones;
new choices of restaurants,
holidays, vacations
and promises of not being late
(but who are we kidding, we’re always late)

And yet, some things will remain
I’ll keep the same dessert
in honor of my grandparents
whose struggles and sacrifices for our family
deserve to be rewarded
with a slice of warm apple pie

Mementos

One by one counting memories:
An old photograph of us at the beach,
A sweater that won’t rid itself of your scent,
Books and CDs that you lent,
I’ve packed them away
They won’t see another day

I’ve packed the boxes,
Made the plans,
The rooms are empty
But I am motionless

Is it that familiar look?
Is it that morning glow
That paints itself through that morning window?
No, it’s these damn memories that aren’t letting go


Listen to more of my poems on SoundCloud
This poem, along with others, can be found in my book Coffee Shop Sessions II: Moving Mountains One by One

Sunday Thoughts

Two lone souls
thinking they stand out in the crowd
do they really
or are they the same as everyone

They feel special, profound
as no one must feel the same
but they do,
they all want to be loved
they all are searching for the one

Yet there isn’t one
there are quite a few
as they slowly come in and out of view
this one knows how to paint
and captures you from the start
and this one knows how to play guitar
straight from the heart
and this one plays piano from the soul
and this one writes poems,
his words have been your ultimate goal

But this one standing beside you all these years
Is he special, unique, profound
Well, he’s still around
And that’s something…

Destination Yesterday

The phone booth crashes into my yard
I’ve seen this play out before
stepping inside, I reach for the receiver
and browse the years to rediscover

Should I dial that year
when I had my first kiss
Should I dial that year
when he made me felt squeamish

Should I dial that year
when I thought I found love
Should I dial that year
when his body fit like a glove

Should I turn back
when things didn’t quite feel right
Should I turn back
when I should have put up a fight

If my destination was yesterday,
which yesterday would it be
or would I stand exactly
where life presents me