Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Joe

This is perhaps the most personal poem I've ever written.

Joseph Maler - my Mom's Dad - was one of the few positive influences in my early years. He was certainly the first to make me feel like I had value and something to offer this crazy world.

He also set me on my professional path - genetically. Joe had one job throughout his life. He was the "Western Union Man." Yup, Joe worked for the telegraph company. He was a "Wire Chief." Before TV took over our lives, Joe ran the crews who would sit on the roof of Yankee Stadium and telegraph World Series' scores around the world.

Joe never talked about his job; I only learned of it by asking questions of other family members. I am convinced, however, that my innate understanding of how the media - especially electronic and new media - work for end-users was passed from Joe to me without a word ever spoken.



©2007 by LeeZard

This typewriter is a lot older than it looks.

It belonged to Joe, and he’s been gone for awhile,
But, his words still flow through me.

You see, Joe was my Grandpa,
And he knew I could write before I did.
Smart guy Joe.

He had thick, white hair brushed straight back.
He had the patience of Job,
And headed the family with dignity and love,
And beautiful stories
Of bubbling brooks and taking showers in the rain.



By the time I was nine, he was challenging me.
Hey, he’d say, write me a story about a boat.
And I would, and he’d challenge me to do better.
Smart guy Joe.

His voice was deep and rumbled with age and wisdom.
He rarely raised it beyond gentle,
But watch out when he did.

And he died slowly, stroke after stroke
Taking in bunches the things he loved—
His ability to walk,
Oh, I miss the walks we used to take.
His ability to talk, or write.

For his last four years our conversation was the same.
How’re ya doin’ Joe?
Lousy.

The doc told me Joe stayed alive
By listening to me on the radio.
Heavy responsibility for a young 21,
But I was filled with love and torn apart
As I watched Joe slowly slip away.