Letter to Gierke from the Future’s Past

Letter to Gierke from the Future’s Past

Dear Ken: I’m fixated on open faucets and drained tanks,
on cracked PVC and browned grass, denial and what’s to
come, thinking of old dogs and accusations and how
the morning’s lopsided beginning has wrung out every
shred of positive emotion absorbed overnight. Then
a pinpoint emerges, swelling, until I can see, as through
a spidery windshield, tomorrow and its improbabilities.
Last weekend I built a window screen to exact measurements,
only to discover the sill tilted on the north by a quarter-inch,
and in order to install the damned thing I had to shorten
its right side, ruining the rectangle. Perfection eludes me,
even when guided by tape and square, especially in this
climate of exacerbated deterioration, which has not, alas,
excluded me – sciatic nerve, shoulders, knees, hands, etc.
But enough whining. Tea leaves predict that in a few hours
I’ll cross the creek trickling over the road, check the cisterns
and drop off tomorrow’s drinks before heading home to
swat mosquitoes and grill sage-rubbed pork kebabs while
sipping hoppy brews. That’s as far into the future as I
care to venture. The Cowboys drafted a lineman named
Taco, the weeds need mowing and my belly says noon
is fast approaching. I’d like carnitas, but have only rice
and beans, which probably signifies something far deeper
than my conscience will admit, trials I’ll never face. A
thunderstorm looms in the forecast, but my left ankle says
it ain’t happening. What do your mended bones claim?
Mine usually plead the fifth, but hey, they’re careful,
these days, and with good reason. Take care. Bob

* * *

“Letter to Gierke from the Future’s Past” was featured at Vox Populi in December 2017.

33 thoughts on “Letter to Gierke from the Future’s Past

  1. I often think that things are just as they should be. The house is just right. My car is running fine, on it’s way to 200,000 miles. The young are healthy, the elders nearly so. And then the lawn dies under another heat wave, after it’s third planting, and the throttle body on the car sucks more water than air as it chokes and dies during a 700 mile drive to a funeral in the dead of winter. But I limp home after a major repair with engine flush and decide not to tell the local shop they cracked the oil filler cap when they changed my oil. I learn to live with weeds and balance water consumption with a scraggly lawn. I also remind myself that a sore knee when I make that mid-nightly trip to the bathroom doesn’t mean I won’t wake up in the morning. Life goes on, sometimes smoothly.
    Sometimes we limp on, but we don’t let that spoil our view out the window, or even down the road. My best. Ken.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. BobAtBest: what parts of me do not hurt – nor promise imminent harm – worry me: what’s with their abstentiousness? I need every joint, every ligament and tendon involved in telling me my wrack is ruint! And your wonderful piece – minus that dreadful quarter-inch – gives me hope that I too may find a brown yard in the midst of all this muck-making rain. Keep an open bucket – to hell with mind! – and never wear shoes or boots when beach-flops will do for those intimate moments spent plucking yellow pear, red grape and both big and tiny cherry tomatoes to go with the last-of-the-chard and radish greens aux herbes salad topped with on-sale navel oranges from elsewhen-and-where and mine own last-of the red onions. I will await further chronicles of your descent into the heat death of all. J – still chuckling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I forgot to mention one yet extant Florence fennel bulb waving its petulant fronds saying save us for a really nice half-salmon broil! Damn veg thinks I’m made of money! I told the NNN (noisy, nosey neighbor) reason I still hang clothes in the back yard – hurrah: still no nabbobish neighborhood hoodlum society assOCIATION! – and set out stripped-of-labels two-liter soda bottles on black plastic to heat in the hide-n-seek afternoon sun is because I like lifting weights actually useful and that more importantly BEER is expensive, thus I economize by waiting to wash both sides before I sentence them to Tom Dooleyism. The hot water does not appreciate the effort and the socks find elsewhere to hide when the skivvy shorts streak their way to the agitator. Fuddy Duddies! They have no spine but mine and I refuse to lend them some of my left-leg sciatica which remains in a state-of-truce: not so so many other joints I have on my daily commute ‘twixt toes and tops just washed – and when I told the busybody friend of NNN the long hair and beard forces me to wash self more often than otherwise I might avoid – all the better to savor the surprise from lost Jehovah’s Witnesses out selling salvation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just back from my healer/chiropractor/acupuncturist, who keeps me mobile. This morning brought sadness and pain relief. We’ll see what the afternoon offers. More life, I hope. 🙂


  3. These days there’s a lot of not-so-great going on and I find myself wanting to pull out and polish the joy. Separate this small life from the collective and balance somewhere between the backyard and spinning world. Last night I went looking for Jack Gilbert’s “A Brief for the Defence”. A real and beautiful poem full of brilliant lines (“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of the world.”) But the poem was more intense than what I was looking for. Heavier. Sorrow and slaughter everywhere weren’t quite what I had in mind. This morning I read your letter and found what I was looking for. Life. Complete with tape, square and the tumbling minutes of a day. Cheers Robert! And thanks for the morning’s perfect poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Letter to Okaji on the Past Not So Perfect | rivrvlogr

  5. I have been seeing these letter-poems pop up and I want to get in there somewhere and do this. They speak to me, someone who used to mail letters daily and would give up e-mail forever for the chance to get real letters in the mail again

    Liked by 1 person

    • Then you must partake! I’ve sort of modeled these on the poems found in Richard Hugo’s 31 Letters and 13 Dreams. I say sort of, as most of Hugo’s letters were addressed to well known poet friends of the day, and I’m on familiar terms with so few well known poets that his example wouldn’t work for me. At one point I considered writing to dead poets whose work I love, but in the end wanted something more personal, more immediate. So most of the letter poems I’ve drafted have been to friends made through this blog, with a sprinkling of poet friends from elsewhere. I’ve a handful circulating out in the world, and a few “marinating” in folders. Slow going, but fun and rewarding in their own way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.