Some history

Paul had his first mental break in March of 1993 while he was in his senior year at the New School in NYC. After an unsuccessful attempt to get him home and hospitalized, we went to New York to get him in treatment there. We encountered a huge snow storm almost as soon as we got there, but that storm was small compared to what Paul's breakdown meant to him and our family. Blizzard in B It is mid March, 1993, and a bitter blizzard blows in. Some predict the century's biggest. Flakes of snow swirl in gusts to the sidewalk. Cold slaps our cheeks pushes through our clothes as we cling to each other, walk through the cavern at the feet of New York's skyscrapers. The sirens set our teeth chattering as impatient cabbies honk, inch their way up the streets. Yet, we trudge forward uncertain of what we will discover when we arrive. A more foreboding blizzard, perhaps, blows through our boy's broken brain. … [Read more...]

Paul’s things

For me it is important to have his things around. I haven't hidden away his picture, and I don't hesitate to talk about him either. I want to keep remembering him, and I want others to know about how important he was in my life. I wrote this next poem while at a workshop at Esalen with Richard Jones. It's been published in "Mamazine," an online magazine, and in The Great American Poetry Show, Volume 1, the anthology I coedited. Black Bomber Swaddled in this black bomber jacket all weekend, I am safe from the Big Sur chill. It's too large for me. And that's okay. It was Paul's. I bought it for him years ago at American et Cie on La Brea before he went crazy and decided to leave us way before his time. I like how it snuggles me, like he's in there too giving me a hug. It's the only piece of his clothing I have left. I've given away the rest: his favorite plaid shirts that smelled of sweat and smoke, the torn jeans he salvaged from second-hand stores, his worn … [Read more...]

Countdown Day 2

Perhaps I have enough poems about Paul to fill up the days until September 23. Here's another poem for Paul written years ago, but still very relevant today. A Stone Called Son I sleep with a stone. It's gray and small enough To fit in the palm of my hand. One side is smooth, the other Has the word, son, cut into it. And when I put the stone In the crook of my index finger I can read the word with my thumb. I like to place it between my breasts And feel its coolness on my chest. It quiets the pain in my heart And slows down my heartbeats So I can rest. Sometimes I hold it all night And find it in my fist when I wake When I'm not sleeping it sits next to my bed On a tiny silk pillow imprinted on one side With the word, heal. Well, it takes time. A healing pillow and a stone called son Can't do all the work. April 28, 2003 … [Read more...]

Remembering Paul

September is the month Paul died. In just 23 days it will be nine years. So, here's a poem in his memory. Cat Stevens Then and Now As I walked up the stairs I heard Cat Stevens singing The familiar words of his song, Morning has Broken, And there I was back in 1973 In our old gray Chrysler station wagon With the wood trim and fake red leather seats And Paul was sitting in the back Belting out the words with him. He was only two then Still clutching his green stuffed turtle for dear life As we drove along. His fat cheeks were rosy red, his blonde hair Cut like an upside down cereal bowl around his face. Then I return to this day and my table at the Westside Pavilion Mall where the lunch crowd Is beginning to gather not knowing or caring how I grieve For the chubby little boy sitting in his car seat When so little made him happy. … [Read more...]