MAY 30th

My father’s anniversary. William Douglas Wayland, only 54, nearly 55. Such a long seige of cancer surprising such a young man. It was, I’m now realizing, so terrible for us, who have now lost our sister and have a brother languishing in a nursing home, the very brother who came out of the house as I was clipping the hedges and said, “I think we’ve had it. They can’t find a pulse.”

It was the day after my triumph, a speech, a big speech. Dad never knew about that, me in front of 2000 people 69 years ago.

This day, this May 30th, a Tuesday, is waning. That was a Friday.

I’ve talked to Doug and Ron today. I’ve been told Bill saw a priest for communion. I saw to that. I’m so glad.

Family thoughts and all manner of thoughts going through my head.

I gave my speech in front of all the city, state and national dignitaries and with the assassinated President’s mother at my elbow as I spoke. Had his tragic death not occurred that November day in Dallas, there would have been no occasion for this speech, and so much in the world might have been different.

But it was, it did happen. I’ve wasted 42 years of my life drifting in a quasi-world of non-marriage marriage, of dissipation, of wasted talent. I’m 76 and can’t quite fathom that. Frozen in life, that must change. No pity, self or otherwise.

The following noon, 24 hours later, the bells were ringing at noon at the Mission Church down the hill from the hospital. My mother heard it. He went to God at noon. So much to think about.

That still, small voice, we must hear it, and those bells.

Dad, we are thinking of you. I’ve thought of you all this mostly idle day of my seventies.

It is 10:34 p.m. in Florida.

You were never here, Dad. But — you are here now….


The Scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.-Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

So, if you’re driving a Tesla these days, in addition to the likely possibility that you have done materially well in life, you are paying four-wheel, petroleum-free homage to an obviously very wise man who died amid the great mechanized insanity that was World War II. Nikola didn’t invent the electric automobile, but I’ll wager he was both a clear thinker and sane and just didn’t get around to it. Today, the world is full of deep thinkers who are arguably insane. They never fail to get around to making the whole world’s mental current AC/DC insane in their wild finger-in-the-electric-socket image and likeness.


I drove by The Last Mile Lounge the other day. There was a guy standing there, taking a smoke break outside, leaning up against the Perma-Stone exterior, the little window with the Blue Moon neon sign behind him. (How many bars feature Blue Moon, such a neat name, so nice to see those coils of lighted neon in the spring day. Okay, not as nice as as a blooming lilac, but on that sterile corner, it’ll do.) The sunlight was variable, the temperature New England cool. I see this guy from time to time at The Last Mile. I wish he’d stop smoking, but there he was. Maybe it’s just a couple of times a day that he smokes. I don’t know who he is or what he does, but he stops in now and then.

He is, the person himself, just there, in light tan jacket over blue jeans, checkered shirt showing at the neck, hand in pocket. I went by slowly. I waved, why not? He did not hesitate to wave back, though I don’t think he knows me. He looks like the kind of guy that could be a Bruins fan and be sad about their collapse. He could be Celtics fan and plan on being around The Last Mile tonight to see them play the 76s in Game Two of the semifinals and hope they do better than the last time.

Or he might just be a guy with no particular affiliation or distinct interest. I never, when I’ve seen him at the Lounge, spoken with him, found out where he works, why he comes to the Lounge alone, whether he has family. whether he’s married, how old he is, whether he’s ever been to war….just a person before me. A subject, like all of us, of attribution. A singular, unrepeatable mortal.

So imagine my surprise when Deano, the night bartender, told me this guy was a poet. And though he does not drink excessively and might nurse a LaBatt for an hour while reading and scribbling in a notebook, he suddenly swung himself around on the barstool one night (I wasn’t there to see it), and commenced to recite a poem to the perplexed gathering of about a dozen people. He later taped the neatly printed poem up over the sink in the washroom.

I read it as I washed my hands today:

It goes….

Wind made me from carelessly disposed

Ashes stood me

A paragon of flesh and bone where

History wriggles vermin-like behind

The honored stones in distances of sandstone and

Marble and I hear evening laughter falling

Yes I see strands of orange laughter falling out of

Windows high windows those bright strands brush against me, entangle

My feet, yes they brush dead

Against my feet. And I am alive.

No title. If I happened to see him, I think I’ll tell him to call it…


Why not?