Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Joy’s Last Couch: Slashed and Burned Lighting Up the Night Sky in Farewell

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 9:29 am on Tuesday, August 16, 2022

by Robert M. Katzman © August 16, 2022

*

Enormous, lumpy and immovable

Seven feet of pain

A monolith in my basement

The damned Black Couch

Where my dying wife lay

For months watching TV

Pumping morphine

Every ten minutes

*

Gaining weight from cancer

I knew that the time would come

I told her if she fell back

From climbing up the stairs

I could never lift her

The basement became forbidden

*

She watched movies from our bed

Or she pretended to

Swiftly dozing off 

In a chemical haze

As I lay next to her 

Holding her hand

Joy’s last movie was

Akeelah and the Bee

A wonderful film

Unwatchable by me

*

She died in May 2017

I lived on in my quiet house

Seeing her Black Couch

Too big to bring up those stairs

And I winced

In remembering her 

As if the heavy Couch were

Perched upon my shoulders

*

Years went by

I married again

A wonderful person

Kind, creative, supportive 

And completely unaware

Of what was bothering me

Every time we went down those stairs

Every time we watched a movie

I saw that Black Couch

Neither of us ever sat on 

*

It can be so hard to let go

Even inert bad things 

Become totems

Illogically, they stop Time

Drag me back to all the pain

*

Gaining weight from cancer

I knew that the time would come

I told her if she fell back

From climbing up the stairs

I could never lift her

The basement became forbidden

*

She watched movies from our bed

Or she pretended to

Swiftly dozing off 

In a chemical haze

As I lay next to her 

Holding her hand

Joy’s last movie was

Akeelah and the Bee

A wonderful film

Unwatchable by me

*

She died in May 2017

I lived on in my quiet house

Seeing her Black Couch

Too big to bring up those stairs

And I winced

In remembering her 

As if the heavy Couch were

Perched upon my shoulders

*

Years went by

I married again

A wonderful person

Kind, creative, supportive 

And completely unaware

Of what was bothering me

Every time we went down those stairs

Every time we watched a movie

I saw that Black Couch

Neither of us ever sat on

It can be so hard to let go

Even inert bad things 

Become totems

Illogically, they stop Time

Drag me back to all the pain

I resolved the Couch must go

*

I asked my wife to help me

Surprised, she acquiesced

Always ready to help me

Unaware of what I felt

Unaware of what I saw

Each time I viewed that

Menacing Black Couch

*

With a razor and a hammer

We slashed that massive

Son-of-a bitch

The fake black leather 

Tougher than expected

The wood stapled and stapled 

Apparently intended to survive

Until the end of Time

*

I pounded, she pulled

The wood splintered and broke

We dragged away foam rubber

We dragged away the metal springs

She bagged the unburnable

I beat that terrible memory 

Realizing, it was so damn hard to kill

*

But after a day it was gone

Many black bags removed

The surviving mass of 

Angry Jagged wood 

With its

Uncountable deadly staples

Defiantly facing the pyre

*

Yes, I make dead things real

Yes, I talk to the inanimate

Because of the spirits

I resolutely believe are 

Dwelling within them

Knowing the pain I inflict

Upon the remnants of 

That damned Black Couch

Is the pain trapped inside me

*

I set the splintered wood ablaze

My emotional imagination 

Flowing within the flames

Consuming my adversary

*

That unlike famed

George Washington:

She led no army

Fought no war

Created no country

*

Nevertheless

As the flames climbed higher

Past the bricks of the fireplace

Illuminating the black night sky

Freeing something imprisoned

Within both of us

Maybe only I would know

*

That once upon a time

A friend

A lover

A wife

A mother

Joyce slept here

5 Comments »

Comment by Kumari de Silva

August 16, 2022 @ 2:30 pm

I am truly so sorry for your loss. This is a very piercing piece

Comment by Beth

August 16, 2022 @ 4:19 pm

You’ve set Joy [and yourself] free again. I love your resilience. It’s always been your best attribute…along with a keen sense of humor, intelligence, good looks, entrepreneurial spirit, instead kindness.

So keep peeling back layers. Keep buring the painful layers. Hugs.

Comment by Don Larson

August 16, 2022 @ 4:30 pm

Excellent release!

Comment by David Griesemer

August 16, 2022 @ 7:23 pm

Like Edgar Allan Poe, Bob imbues inanimate objects with sentience. In recent years, his writing has become markedly spiritual. He directs his hatred of cancer at the couch, inflicting his pain on it, calling it his defiant adversary.
He speaks of something imprisoned “Within both of us.”

Nancy too has had loss. I wonder, did she detect the catharsis taking place?

Death is nature taking back. So is fire. No more furniture on Bob’s shoulders.
Memories, yes. Furniture, no.

Comment by Dennis Mae

August 18, 2022 @ 1:03 pm

Beautiful Bob! Simple and elegant with true feeling. Now among our parallels we must add the black vinyl couch I bought in 1979 for my first apartment. Eventually it was in my mother’s home until she died. The webs of memories in furniture. Bravo

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