“Grandfather” (Part 1)
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
The twitching thing that lay upon the bed
Was not my grandfather.  It wore his face
And smelled of him, old coffee and a trace
Of cigarettes.  Its eyes were rimmed with red
And rheumy and they twinkled in its head
Like distant dying stars.  And in that place
Deep down inside where man and mind embrace
My grandfather had lost his mind and fled.
Where did he go, that man I once had known?
What horrors did he see, what eldritch lies
Ensnared him in the darkness and the din
Of lunacy?  And was he all alone?
He was; I saw it in his weeping eyes
And in the tremble of his wretched grin.


“Friction” (Part 2)
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
The friction between
Two blades of grass
In a breeze
Is enough to
Shatter continents
The old man said
Look there—
And he blew his
Old man’s breath across the
Dead-yellow backyard lawn
Antarctica—it were nice knowin ye!
And his bib-overalled belly
Shook with seismic tremors
Of raspy cigarette-scented
And his age-dimmed eyes
Almost sparkled in their
Crevasse of wrinkles
And I grabbed his sandpaper hand
And choked back tears
The flavor of oceans
And I held my breath
Too afraid to breathe


“Five Seconds” (Part 3)
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
The old man speaks to me
Across the decades
Soundless words
Forever trapped in
Ninety frames of
Grainy Super-8
He walks away
Then turns at my
Teenaged beckoning
Hey, Grampa!
The shutter whirs
Like hummingbirds
Stealing a flower’s soul
Stealing my grandfather’s soul
The arcane machinations
Bending time and space
He is here in my machine
He is here
His Viking grin
His weathered overalls
His sweat-stained cap
His cologne of coffee and cigarettes
He stops
He speaks
I can’t hear his voice
Five seconds
He is alive
Five seconds
He is alive
I can’t hear his voice
He speaks to me across the decades
The silent film
Damning him
Damning me
I read his lips his eyes his smile
I will die soon
He seems to say
The strokes will be
Only the beginning
He seems to say
Everything will change
He seems to say
Everything but these
Five seconds I have with you
And you with me
And I am saying
Anything you wish
Anything you need me to say
Anytime you see me here
He turns
He smiles
He speaks
He walks away

10 thoughts on ““Grandfather”

    1. I was so absorbed in all these poems, Mike.. and after reading your essay related to your grandpa, i felt it so strongly.. i can feel your love, affection and attachment to him in these words.. i can feel much beyond that .. these words are so beautiful, as if speaking to my heart directly.. you write so beautifully Mike.. honestly amazing.. by the way, your grandpa was a handsome gentleman, saw his photo in the essay💕🙂 may his soul rests in peace, amen!! And may he always keep on feeling and receiving your love for him, amen!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many thanks, Saima. Your kind words are truly appreciated. This series about my grampa was originally three separate poems, but it made sense to incorporate them into one piece in order to tell a little story about my grampa and how I feel about him. They were extremely difficult to write from an emotional standpoint, but I felt like I had to work through feelings of guilt and shame and pain…and it helped a lot. Thanks for your kindness as always. (I’ve been away from my blog for several days and have some catching up to do. Just wanted to let you know I’ll respond to your other comments very soon.) 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. No problem, dear Mike.. pls take your time.. i was a bit concerned about your absence from the blog but good to know that you replied.. i hope you must be doing well.

        Yes, this series of poems was amazing.. it’s very healthy activity to write about difficult emotions, instead of keeping them inside. I hope it must have helped you.

        Best wishes!!

        Liked by 1 person

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