by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
Once he lived in South Korea.
His father served the country well.
Very soon he was California bound.
A yearning for individuality brought him to Texas.
His older sister and younger brother
worshipped their little hero
who had mastered martial arts,
and his knack for covering up sibling mistakes.
Further west he hiked until the home of Buddy Holly called.
Taking the pledge, he settled in
for an academic stretch with devotion to a great rider.
The learning theme became clear: art and the art of teaching art.
With sister perennially getting hitched
and little brother getting high,
his career hit a wall because of a devastating cover up.
As a last resort he sought fortune in the Bayou city.
No friends made at college were ever so true
as the two troubadours who also honored his parents.
And when the patriarchs knocked on heaven’s door
only the best of friends emerged to pray for their souls.
His mission to seek silver was interrupted by a parade.
Wonderful diamonds, women of substance, on his runway of inspection.
Friends marveled at their gentle maturity as he pointed out their flaws.
Possibilities of real happiness dashed against a stony heart.
He spun the roulette wheel to find romance.
Every winner was rejected despite the odds.
He left the table, still betting the red numbers would stoke his lust.
The black would pay for his adventure.
Life was safer spinning the wheel, but he rejected it, not trusting his own luck.
This was honey to the blow flies of opportunity.
Of all the precious things he could have cherished
it was his childish ideal of the perfect woman which murdered him.
Through the years he despised his friends
for offering holiday wishes and sympathy as models of support.
His jealousy was unmatched by the sad fantasy that everyone
wanted his egocentric counsel or his chameleon lover.
When a man convinces himself the people around him are smart
the stupidest thing he can do next is plan for isolation.
Thus years sped past from the day he rejected the good counsel of his friends.
Yet, slowly, he died, from a daily dose, of strychnine, and artificially scented love.
Today we remember the artist, the husband, the father, the fool.
He loved life and his wife and his children.
He could not take his secret to the grave: he loved silver more than
the diamonds he mined or the angels who watched over him.
Goodbye, old friend, who used to be
my helping hand.
I pulled you up
and then you pulled away.
Copyright © 1960-2016 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.