the casket collection

I imagine them pouring dirt onto your tear stained casket,
the shovels collecting eons worth of earth
and covering you in it.
Embracing you in soil.
Tucking you in
like you’re the toddler that you’ve always been,
drifting off to lullabied slumber,
getting the rest you so dearly deserve .

Father figures were never something I lacked as a child.
I have never been in want of a patriarchal mentor to guide me,
provide me with life advice,
insight, foresight, hindsight, and dumb dad jokes.
They were everywhere.
Strong willed men in my family,
on my block, on my TV screen,
and you were always one of them.

Our Americana jester.
Our childhood clown.
Our humble funny man.
Our slapstick, highbrow, lowbrow, ba dum psst genius.
Our man bursting into tears
when he admits: “But doctor, I am Pagliacci.”

You were
my crowing lost boy,
my homely nanny,
my quoter of Thoreau and Whitman,
my board game companion,
my granter of wishes thrice,
my cross wired bat.

And not only that,
but you were a fighter.
For sixty-three years
you fought so desperately for life
and everyday was a triumph because you did not cave.
You packed your punches
with comedy and good will
and even still,
in the end,
you lost.
Through all the laughter and the joking
you still felt
the world was something that didn’t need you.

I wish I could say to you
that after all these years, through and through,
that I was always rooting for you.

You taught me that being a writer is a noble pursuit
and a love of poetry is as necessary as air.
That growing up doesn’t mean childhood has to ever end.
That I should never hide what makes me “me”
and how I should never change myself for whatsoever company.
That family means doing absolutely anything and everything
for my love of them,
even if that means a little cross dressing.

And you taught me how to fight,
but not with the strength of my fists
but with the grace of my words
and the hum of my laughter,
because my intelligence and wit
is my greatest weapon
against the bullies in my life
and the demons in my mind.

The demons who got the best of you.
The demons who told you that you were not worth
your breath or your stance or your bark.
The ones who slapped you down and laughed in your face;
a laughter you were not used to.
Those demons.
Those fucking demons
who made you believe that nobody would care.

Well they were wrong,

because you were my generation’s almighty father of film;
the fabric of our childhood.
You were the one who would do anything
to get a laugh out of us - which you always did.
You were our mentor, professor, therapist, mad scientist,
doctor with a funny bone in every limb.
Nobody is going to forget you
and this one last lesson you have taught:
that mental illness is a malicious chameleon
and sometimes the people with the biggest smiles
are hurting the most and having the hardest times.
You are proof of this,
and it breaks me in half that no one was there,
in the end, to hold your hand and tell you
that we always were so grateful to have a friend like you.

So, as one Julia stealing the words of a
much more well known and well liked Julia,
let me say to you, Robin, wherever you are:

“You know that place between sleep and awake,
that place where you still remember dreaming?
That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan.
That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

—  To My Crowing Lost Boy; by jgask