Wednesday, March 1, 2023


    -after John Lennon's "Julia"

Every mother deserves a song

Written for her by a son

It’s the least we can do

After all they’ve given up

And all they’ve been through 

Better now than after she’s gone 

Kathy was always my biggest fan

Shrieking go! jeff go! as she 

Raced up and down the touchline 

Of the soccer pitch when I was seven

That first game was my actual christening,

When I heard my given name for the first time

And realized I needed to become that….

Couple of clarifying points:

We called it a “field” back then and “sideline” 

Not “pitch” or “touchline”

We were basic 

We ate leftovers

Did Saturday morning chores 

I wore polyester sweats under my green shorts

With white stripes down the sides 

Orange slices at halftime

Once, mom brought Shasta 

As the post game drink

Even though the coach 

Was a regional sales rep for Coca-Cola

It was a lot cheaper

And we didn’t have shit.

No one would have noticed

If not for the Steven, the coach’s prick son    

Nothing since has changed

She’s still rooting

For me to be my best 

Just not so screechingly.

I haven’t exactly had the world’s

Biggest cheering section throughout my life 

(to be perfectly honest)

And when she’s gone the bleachers 

Will be even quieter;

An empty seat looming

Down in the front row
With the game still on

And me out on the field,

Improbably still playing

Because what else 

Am I supposed to do?

I don’t see her as often as I should

And when I do we don’t talk much,

At least not too meaningfully

The best I can do is hold a seashell 

To her eyes and try to describe what I hear 

Most of what I say to her

Loses half its meaning on the way

Even this poem is only half written

I’ve spent half my life pretending

I didn't notice her expectant gaze—

Playing the part of the very busy good boy

With important things to do.

But I've spent the other half

Slipping out emergency exits 

Of once desired places

I didn’t want to be in anymore,

Running down dark haunted alleys

Gathering enough discarded fragments 

Of unexpressed love to put in her poem.

This is the half I’m still writing 


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