Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Arrogance, Almost An Epitaph

There was this job review. There was this boss looking at me, saying it was obvious that I knew what I was doing, but I was really pissing my crew off. Oh by the way, two or thress of the guys on the crew could do my job. So instead of praise I got a warning, and instead of being thought an asset to the company, I got called arrogant. This was the first time something like this had ever happened to me, the first time that I had ever had that kind of exposure in the work world. And I got called arrogant. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! This absolutely crushed me. I had no idea I could ever be thought of that way. What a lesson, a hard, hard lesson.


You want attention,
Perhaps mine. You offer jokes.
I guess I should laugh
But I am far more
Than this, more elevated,
My nose in the air
So I can breathe my
Own pure essence as it is
Rather than common
Crowded aromas.


We have been a cremation family from I don't know when. None of us ever saw the sense in making a big deal out of this dying thing. I can't remember what the grandparents did, so I guess I wasn't involved much, but we were poor coming out of the depression, both sides, so I doubt there was much money spent on things.

I like the idea of scattering ashes. When my mother died, we sent her back to Missouri. She went through the mail. That's normal, happens quite often. When my sister got the ashes, she said to the mailperson, "Oh, that's Mom!" A bit of a surprise. My mother was a minister emeritus for Unity School. She had received the Myrtle Filmore award for lifetime achievement. She was scattered in the rose garden at Unity Village, the headquarters of Unity, just outside Lees Summit, Missouri.

When my former wife died in Columbus Ohio, I asked her sister Betsy for a share of the ashes. Annie also went through the mail back to Oregon where her whole career as a Social Worker had taken place. I took those ashes to the beach in Newport, Oregon, where we were married. I took those ashes and scattered some on the property of the house we bought and lived in for eighteen years, sold now for many years. I scattered some for me under the dogwood on my property here. I also scattered some on the grave of her uncle and aunt up in the military cemetary, Willamette National, local to Portland. That location is a sacred site for me, and I go up there from time to time, can find that grave by memory among all the thousands there. There is a service shelter nearby that I will sit in to pray. Cemetaries do not creep me out. I also keep a small amount of her ashes with me in this house.

Almost An Epitaph

Graveyards are good for
Walking if you're still alive,
For lying about
If you're dead and gone,
If irreverent, skipping
Works for me as well.

In New Orleans, graveyards serve
For grand family picnics.

I hope for the flame
Turning me to tan ashes,
Gritty bits of bone,
Someone willing to scatter
All that's left into the sea.


  1. Of all the places I find you
    where will I leave you
    to be with me again?

    In the garden?
    Where the flowers bloomed and everytime
    I came to visit you would take me eager
    like a boy to show your work
    the sun tilting on us
    through the old apple tree
    branches hanging over
    where the horses once reached
    for the sour fruit.

    Can I lay you down here
    bit by bit and near the brook
    where all night the water sings and sings
    your name and the lightening bugs
    spark away with the stars?

    I thought this was real for the first time
    when I sat on the mossy stone
    slipping off into the cold cold water
    and I held onto to you again.

    This, the fern, the closed gentian
    the nicotine fingers
    that held the flowers.

    (please don't talk to me now
    please don't say a word)

    I burn and burn the papers I write
    they are wet from tears and take too long to catch

    do you see this now?

    How we splinter and burn away
    and know not where to lay you down.

    The Garden -- rosa rugosa, rosa
    rubrifolia, rosa mundi rosa rosa
    I say theses words
    each time I came you and I
    pulled the grass away
    dug the holes,
    carried the water.

    I place you here.

    (for my father -- thank you, Christopher, for leading me to the ashes)

  2. what a treasure your blog is- i am so glad to have found it- mum on her way to missouri in the mail gave me my first smile of the day xx

  3. You reveal so much in your prose and poetry, and in revealing yourself, you illuminate our human condition. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. (Look what you've done for Faith with this posting!)

  4. Christopher, I love your poems. Here, and where they are scattered in the comment sections I find. I adore the poetic soul that you are and that you find the words coming to you like the wind. Your poem on my blog the other day was like the eye of an eagle. I'm happy to say that those fears are finding no walls to hold them anymore.

    I find I'm not over here enough because we are not linked. Shall we link?

  5. I really like both of these. The first one made me laugh. This is so true!

  6. I am moved by these comments. I can't find words and don't really have time right now to do this justice.

    Cat, you are welcome to link and I will get around to it.

  7. Faith, your poem is right in the spirit of all this. Thank you for leaving it here. I will cherish it.

    I get the inspiration "here", why not leave my results "here" too?

    You see how cool it is to leave these behind? I love doing it myself. If you are like me, then you keep your own copy to post on your site when you wish to.

  8. It's very strange, I dreamed about dead family members and cremation last night.

  9. {{{Patia}}}

    Life can get strange, and then when you think you understand how strange it gets, then stranger still.

  10. Wonderful ashes poem; we're a cremation family too. My sister and I met up in Brighton, Sussex, had a weekend at the seaside, went on the pier, then drove out to Chanctonbury Ring,a hilltop site where my mum went camping as a child, scrambled up and scattered her ashes there. It was such a great weekend. This is really a longer story, aren't they all? Perhaps I'll get round to writing more sometime.

    Thanks as ever.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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