The Sins of our Fathers

So, my grandma died about a year and a half ago, my father’s mother. Grandpa Hank died… I don’t know. Ten years ago? I was in California at the time, I know that much. That’s it, my sister, my father, and I, the last of the Walker bloodline.

After months and months of hemming an hawing and storage units and crap, I finally took some initiative and took all the remnants of their lives to my house.

We’ve been going through it, slowly. I gave away the appliances, I’m trying to sort out the furniture and the boxes of completely random shit: Grandpa’s AA chits, his records, the pencils and crosswords that Grandma filled out obsessively. The strange silver dish that was the centerpiece of every Christmas, filled with plastic holly leaves and a half melted candle. A mint colored monkey statue. A wind up bear who pours himself a soda and then drinks it. Boxes of unlabeled pictures of people… my ancestors? Strangers? Who knows now.

But there was a large stack of poems. Handwritten, on yellow legal pads. The poems of my grandfather, along with the typed copies my grandmother would transcribe so he could submit them to dozens of vanity publications, poetry contests, legitimate press… All there, the madness in his head, spilled out of the page…

I am going to transcribe some, here. So it’ll live forever on the wire, my Grandfather’s horrible, depressing legacy.

And now, for the first time on the internet: Henry Marvin Walker

Bad Dream

I was fourteen and she called
Me her “Golden Boy”. I went
From triumph to triumph: Co-editor
Of the school-paper, swimmer of

Rivers and lakes, hot contender
On the tennis court. I crossed
Bridges and soared beyond without
Touching the handlebars.

I keep having this dream/memory
About a year that never was.
I could never have been that young,
That carefree, that hopeful.

When the dream recurs, I turn aside
And grit my teeth to keep from
Weeping.

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