After 53 years of residing in the same house, my sister and I recently helped my father of 82 years move from his place out in Westlake into an independent living facility. He was born on Bee Caves Road in 1934 and I'm guessing he is/was the oldest living resident of the area. Seeing the house I grew up in empty of life and disheveled as we prepared for an estate sale was a confusing and somber task unlike anything I've done before. Our plan was to update the house and rent it out to support his care. It felt like we were running my families story through a series of filters sifting it all down till the house was empty. Throughout the process that is more or less how I felt. Empty, bitter and bitter sweet as I ruminated on what to do with everything and what it was all about. At the end of one particularly difficult day I wrote the following poem. I decided I would share it here. Maybe some of you who have gone thru something similar can relate. Thanks.
They said it was built of limestone, completed the same week Kennedy was gunned down. 53 years. A mixed bag of sorrow, 42 dominoes, Friday night hamburgers, packing out for Lake Travis, returning from deer hunts, Harlequin romance novels, indoor smoking, laughter, tragedy and the ghosts of a standard dysfunctional American dream. But they soon felt foolish with disbelief. They had been deceived. Not one fucking stone. Anywhere. In any wall. The truth arrived unwelcome that it had been made of sand all along. Incredulous and angered they raged and contested but finally faced the fact, hard to swallow as it was. And soon the tides came as they always do, from the cold ocean, driven by decay, weakness and bewilderment. The walls were slowly eroded at first but soon all was gone, washed flat and erased. As the fog of time rolled in, it was barely remembered and in the end forgotten, to a point of non existence by the next set of fools, blindly building, laughing, crying and hoping just the same.