What I loved, really was
my memory of him.
Francis, was my mothers youngest brother.
But reflecting now I realize
I knew Butch more by the artifacts of his life.
My feelings were almost archeological
After twenty years of separation
As the facts of his death were
related to me- by his sister sobbing
over a crackling phone connection.
“The prison lost his ashes in transit.”
missing the irony, she wept.
“It was UPS they said, those bastards!”
bruised out on the static connection
to be dusted over the
like his life lost in transit.
Spooky, Casper the Ghost’s comic,
bad boy other self-was India ink etched into his
First e mano by an old South Paterson Gumba
Who owed Butch a gambling debt
Settled as he carved him a
Jabbed in by three sewing needles tied
together with thread one poke at a time.
“Fuck you!” Butch said each time
keeping the rhythm
Spooky was to be
It’s fedora cocked off kilter
In an attempt
our family connection.
Buzzing my heavy tattoo machines in the dim light
of a sleazy Florida pool hall and beer joint.
Listening to do-wop.
Watching the blood drop.
in the still
of that night
splashed with his red Neapolitan
feverish with the knowledge
that it ran in my veins.
Slurred me to sleep
with tears for
before the image of him
Impaled on the x of his life
And his faux tortoise shell
hair brush, left behind,
filled with stands of
brillcreamed black hair
Sitting on his
with the loose change
of his life spilling out
Like an offering
below the spooky plaster Jesus head
with the concave eyes that followed
my every move.
Let me know what you think!