(In that shadowed moment when wakefulness is fitful and sleep is a hill yet to
climb, I think of Uncle Blue.)
In my sleepless fog
I become a kid, playing in the street,
again, listening for “a come on and hear moment,”
a pulsating pounding,
a boom, boom, boom, da,da,da,da,boom,
a captivating beat
struck upon two 5 gallon discarded olive oil cans,
from the corner of my eye
I catch an unmistakable sight,
Uncle Blue in full stride,
cloaked in the oliy sleeves of a threadbare coat,
hobnail boots stepping
flailing arms swinging
a manila rope snaked through his belt loop,
holding together two disparate parts of a man,
thoughts swirling off tempo,
out of sync,
the beats of his drums,
a whole man
one foot in the past,
the other frozen in the air,
in a time before the change
older folks knew him by his given name,
we knew him only as Uncle Blue,
he passed away more than 60 years ago,
silence filled the void,
the rhythmic joy of his existence muffled,
gentrification, a modern day raising of the dead,
filled the spaces where he once roamed,
no more boom, boom, boom, da,da,da,da,boom,
the predictable staccatoed voices of crowded streets,
now speak for Uncle Blue,
“eccentrics no longer welcomed!”
boom, boom, boom, da,da,da,da,boom.
Gerald M. Bigelow
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Tapping on Cobblestones
The stones, much older than I,
stiff, unable to move
aging in place,
defiant to the ravages of time
defined by their place in history
not by the history of this place
my cane,unwanted, not unexpected
a relentless tapping on their heads
a tapping born to awaken past memories,
no longer the familiar sounds of wagon wheels clanking,
the sound of shepherded sheep passing,
just an infernal tap, tap, tapping,
do the stones whisper?
do they recognize the light steppers from the heavy footed?
do they know when I’m coming?
“damn stones, stumbling beneath my feet”
why don’t they get out of my way!
stop spoiling my vacation,
if it wasn’t for those stones,
I could probably throw my cane away,
stop wasting my hard earned money,
traveling the world,
chasing ancient history,
those darn stones are everywhere,
trying to make me fal,
hell I’m not the Holy Roman Empire!
just an old man with a cane,
tap, tap, tapping on their heads.
Gerald M. Bigelow
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Gerald Bigelow is a retired aerospace IT Executive. Previously published in the Arizona centennial anthology, his poetry has also appeared in four editions of Between the Lines. Bigelow is an “at large” board member for EPIC Group Writers, and chairs a monthly poetry group. He is the editor and contributor to a recently published poetry anthology Soundings from the Salish Sea, (A Pacific Northwest Poetry Anthology). He was recently selected to read his poetry at an event featuring Claudia Castro Luna, Washington State Poet Laureate.
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The EPIC Poetry Group has been in existence for four years. It is open to the members of the public (free of charge) who are interested expressing and improving their poetry writing skills. The group meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Edmonds Library from 6-7:45 p.m.