Friday, July 27, 2007

Robert Joseph, Happy 38th Prematurely Postponed

Way down yonder, down in San Fernando,
Where all them Jewish folk roam,
Stands a house next to the Ventura Freeway
Where our papa made our country home.”
-Robert Joseph ( 25.July.1969 - 13.Dec.2004), Chicken Farmin’ Jews

Robert was not actually punctual, so I thought I would be early.

Dead friends make great poems

I hope you would have liked the title

Robert, my Pan of tapes and cultivator of my teenage ear,
“Hear this,” you said and I did 1000 times over and still do

I miss you the most when I make a new discovery,
ear opening victories based on what you taught me

And now, here I sit writing this poem over a beer in my parents house,
overweight and happy the night after my 38th birthday party

There you lay in your family plot,
a small framed corpse that would reveal a fine muscular structure, a low percentage of body fat, and a heart ripped into a thousand pieces as a result of certain excesses that nice Jewish boys from the Valley are supposed to dispense with while still in their early twenties

Is it wrong to draw this comparison, Robert?

My early interventions,
my “helpful” suggestions to finish your degree at Santa Cruz,
to become serious about pursuing a musical career,
to stop smoking, and to otherwise get it together, just failed.
To do myself justice, I’ll blame it on my own youth
And your tin ear for “reality.”

While I like to believe that one is immortal until proven otherwise,
after I finish this beer, which I took with a vitamin, I will go take the dog for a long walk, eat a light lunch and continue on a pathway whose endpoint will hopefully be muted by the gentility of its timing, but till that time, when I listen, I will hear you.

July 19th 2007 and April 10th 2006 and other dates in between