Wonderful Ed Lives On (NaPoWriMo 9)

The poems begin the fold in on themselves.

Wonderful Ed Lives On

Let’s face facts Ed
I may never see you again
You are nearing 90 now and 
My excuse for visiting your piece of heaven
Has evaporated like spilled beer on a Santa Fe porch
Not to mention this pandemic
(I’d love to hear your thoughts)

Do you know, Ed, I search for you now and then
Just did today
“Is Ed Larson still alive?”
Because I hope you are  
You and the your windmills of wonder
I find no answers but I see your big wooden fish
Declaring “Jesus said buy folk art” 
And I believe he did

One day I’ll be back in your neighbourhood
I’ll drive right up to your gate to see the whole property
Abandoned, or worse still, taken over and made respectable

Do you know, Ed, what you did for us?
For me and my little Canadian family?
Did you know, somehow
How much you had to pack into our hour together?

Is this why you waited inside, gathering up your strength
To take us from shed to shed in your yard
Each stuffed with paintings that tell your story?
Pantsless sailors and topless barroom ladies and 
Surly red-headed cowboys and sweaty jazz clubs
And the whole throb of humanity refracted

Did you know we’d never meet again, and so  
You opened your front door
And your beautiful wife served us cookies and iced tea?
When we sat a spell and made conversation, 
Did you feel the gravity? 
Did you see our eyes greedily consume your curiosities?
Oh! The pure personality of the place!
You can’t make this stuff up!
Well, you can, Ed

Why do you have a lamp made of shotguns, Ed?
Every time I try to place you, you slip out from under my assumptions

I want to be as me as you are you
Fully, oddly, loudly my self

Can I call you beautiful, Ed? 
It’s an odd word used this way, I know, 
But it’s true somehow
The word beauty can falls so  flat and
You are why
Comfortable weirdness. Unassuming to-hell-with-it-audacity
These are beauty, too

Do you remember the first time we met, Ed
I was visiting your gallery on Canyon Road
A beautiful mess of a place, daily growing fat with paintings and
Sculptures and
Wind toys and
And I was looking at a painting tiny enough to afford and
It was your birthday so a friend pulled up in a
Dusty blue pickup 
Whisked you away
It’s OK, I said
I’d buy the painting on my way back, later
You looked back at me
Eyes twinkling mischief
Said that if that painting were to disappear
While you were out
Who would be the wiser?

I bought the painting
A woman, dancing, I think
Crude and full of life
Too much painting for a few square inches

Do you know Ed, that we almost didn’t come
And when we did come, we almost left?
I was nervous to introduce you to my family
Afraid I’d made you up
It didn’t help that your workshop was empty
Just paintings of Elvis 
And cowboys and ladies and 
Birds being born on your bench
Set to radio static songs

Is that radio on right now, Ed?

Do you remember how my wife and I debated 
Which carved bird to buy?
The sensible chickadee or
The crimson cardinal?
How we asked the price and your wife corrected your “$20” with “$40” and we knew how this relationship works

How, when we left with the brown bird
You snuck out to catch us
Before we could leave
The red bird tucked in your baggy dress shirt
How your whole body winked with
Your trademark twinkle
When you handed us that gift

Know how it feels
You said and did not say
To take something and run!

How many birds have you carved, Ed?
Where have they all landed?
Singing your songs
Now and when you go

Singing you home 

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