my maternal grandfather passed away on june 22 1980 from black lung thanks to 16 years of drilling chopping & chipping coal down in the guts of the white star mineral company’s mine number 21 & 40 years of sniffing soot smoking steel & swallowing fire in the foundry at the crown jewel of old mister henry ford’s empire ….. the rouge plant …..
i was 25 …. i was back in town from reno … i was what the cat dragged in …. i was slashed the slash & the blade …. i was the the fist … the gloves …. i was the punch ….
i had blasted off from planet catholic when the calendar claimed i was 16 …. bob dylan bonnie bramlett john lennon & grace slick were …… the lord the nun the pope the virgin mother & …… more than enough religion to last a lifetime
the day before the funeral my mother called ….
“the funeral is yesterday” “the funeral is today” “the funeral is tomorrow” “eddie we’re all going to communion” “it would be respectful if you went” “grandpa will be so proud” she went on ……
“all night tonight you should beg god for mercy” “make sure you dress nice” “make sure you shave” “no jeans no tennis shoes no t-shirt wear socks” “no buddha swinging smiling & swaying on that chain”
and on ……
“no liquor on your breath no humming purple haze” “no talking politics no ronnie reagan jokes”
and on ….
“leave your good time charlie slut marcia home” “cousin lena wants to fix you up” “cousin lena wants to fix you up with cousin gina”
and on ….
“my god eddie at least make it seem like you’re …………..”
i honored each & every one of my mother’s requests
and then …
the wake began.
confessional something's still stuck to the soles of my wingtips