Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

for friend Barbara, her loss, as I write from her POV

by Paul Haeder / December 6th, 2020

City Guide: Portland, Oregon | Go Next

I am pulling out soot-covered
memories, fires in the hills
reminder of Portlander:
Candee was her name
lost for one month in care
gone in half a day home hospice
I had forgotten this utility trailer
a lifetime of my things, photos, past lives

she had more lucid
memories of my life
than my own record
understood my various traumas
exuded all the empathic ways
advised me, even knew which judge to hear
my case, touching my thoughts
when I barely touched people
in fading photographs

if I had only known Candee
had been stuck
to terminal IV’s, shuttered to death
bed, I would’ve jumped in my
car, hit the road for Seattle:
Is this an act of my own aging,
maybe 71 is young, still
we live our lives so disconnected
are these the lessons . . . connectivity?

people pass now, unknown to me
yet my instinct during this month’s
beaver moon told me something
was wrong with Candee, but
drowned out by, what,
empirical hijacking of our times
my drowning under the drone of
Trump, elections, global chaos?

A while back, Candee had a home for unwed
mothers, took them into her house:
my question is, do these women and their kids
know this angel is dead?

life is like a passing iceberg –
dramatic, sometimes picturesque
then we move on, like a split glacier.
I admit I telephoned her
land line, old school Candee
no interest in Facebook, then Monday
gruff son answers her phone,
my question:
Where’s Candee . . .
she’s dead . . .
Quit joking Trevor, I’d like to speak . . . to . . .
she’s dead . . . .

a confidant for three
decades, now fire-blasted minerals
inside a urn
to be dumped into Puget Sound
no dances, no dirge, no songs of
Candee’s life . . . this is remittance
for aging, disjointed lives
generations in this cold hard land
ready to cart off a life
to Goodwill, conceive of
hurried cremains ceremony
like flicking ashes from a Havana
cigar into the wind?

Memorializing, singing, breaking
of bread, recalling, tributaries
to one’s life, all those connected
to a web, my friend, once unbroken chain
now delinked, this northern
wind in my bones
hard felt now, dislocation
of hip, of my
humility, humanity

another passing
Candee, apprehender
of my mental state,
dredger of emotions
she is now beyond
a beyond, one less
conjurer of ancient rules
gone to her tribe
of shamanistic women
she, sorcerer of my heart, my thoughts
the tip of my tongue
no longer Candee, there
here, finishing my sentences,
knowing my thoughts.

PHOTOS: Spreading the ashes of a man who was homeless in Salem

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