The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Tag: death

The Second Order of a Minute


The ghost of Tyrone Guthrie

wavers and walks again

across the city in which he slept

built dreamed thought acted

action impacting thousands

even as his body rests

and his face, always larger than life,

stares for a time down Washington Avenue

while we walk, jog, run

acting on the small stage of Minneapolis

under the influence

of the flour sacks

and the ruins of mills

We know our bones won’t last as long

as the stone arch bridge

even with its trusses

its heart surgeries and such

our time is a moment

and we still do not understand the nature of time.

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Symbolism isn’t enough.


Hey.  I try to be chatty and casual in these here blog posts, but I’m just not feeling it lately.  I am so sad about my father-in-law passing away.  I can’t think about anything else.  Even the Drop Kick Murpheys didn’t help.  I am also doing something different for me – I am not telling people how I feel.  In person, I mean.  I am telling you… I guess that has always been my MO – I write about my feelings.  Sometimes I talk about them, but that’s usually when I am having good feelings, not sad ones.  So maybe it’s not different.

This death is hitting me hard.  It’s reminding me of the first death that was significant to me, as I recall:  Grandma on my Dad’s side.  Maybe it’s reminding me of that because we had gone up North for a wedding; Grandma lived with us, so she was going to stay in the hospital for the weekend.  She insisted that she would be fine, and that we should go and enjoy ourselves.

We stayed at my Aunt Carol’s house, no doubt we had dinner with Kenny, who I wrote about a blog or two ago.  We were sleeping downstairs in the bedroom behind the woodfire furnace when the phone rang.  Uncle Bud came down to tell my dad that it was for him – this was at 3:30 in the morning.  My mom must have made a remark that we know what phone calls in the middle of the night mean.  I didn’t really know, but I found out soon enough that they usually meant someone had died.

Grandma had a heart attack in the hospital.  I think I went into shock, or maybe I didn’t really understand what it meant, but I remember Dad kneeling at the side of the bed and telling me that she died.  Then I think I remember him looking up at me and saying, “aren’t you going to cry?”

I felt bad.  I didn’t know why I wasn’t crying already, and I probably did start crying then.  I really don’t remember.  What I do remember is that I kept a photo of her and made myself cry while looking at it.  I did this well through high school.  I don’t know why I felt so guilty – like I had done her wrong somehow by not crying instantly.

Jay and I were up North visiting my parents when we got the call from Linda that Jim wasn’t doing very well and was in the ICU.  We came home, and it seemed like he was maybe doing better.  We had averted the curse of leaving town when a loved one isn’t in top health.  But it didn’t last.  Three weeks, can it possibly have only been three weeks?  Three weeks later, it’s over.  A delightful person is gone from this world, lost to us.

Maybe I’m grasping at insignificant similarities in a hope to make this meaningful or symbolic somehow.  I don’t think it’s going to work, though.  Even if it did, I don’t know if it would really help with this big gaping hole in my life.  Guess that’s going to take time. Time and thinking.  And talking.  Guess I’ll go do some talking right now and let the healing process begin.

Memories of Kenny


My cousin Kenny died last week.  He had a heart attack.  He was only 56.  The story I heard is that he was working in the yard, came in and said he was tired, went to rest on the couch, and died. This story, while shocking, reminds me a lot of the story of how my grandmother died, except that she had an anerurysm, and she wasn’t working in the yard, she was cutting cake.

My memories of Kenny are vague.  I remember playing at his house, which was very close to Aunt Carol’s house, I remember sleeping there, it seems to me that I remember celebrating Easter and maybe Christmas there.  I definitely know that his house is the only place I ever got to see Captain Kangaroo as a child.  I remember STP stickers, Kenny being outside and working on cars.

I also remember a lot of laughter.  All my memories of his home are colored in a sunshiny warm yellow glow – although I don’t remember talking much, which is unusual for me.  Oh, and they always had Alphabet cereal.  I don’t remember the actual name of it.

I am sad that I never even knew Kenny.  He was already grown up with kids of his own by the time I knew him, and I never saw him once I became an adult.  I would go to the funeral tomorrow, but my husband’s father died yesterday, too, and we have a lot going on down here in the Cities.

My heart goes out to Kenny’s children – all younger than me – and his wife, a woman I never met.  I hope that they will cherish their good memories and pull together as a family, just as we are trying to do here.

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