a guy I know...
ever hear about the guy who ran a poker room and spent his time hustling pool in the underbelly of early nineteen sixties tennessee? you know, the guy whose dad was a cop and his mother a righteous church going country lady who ran the house with an iron fist but still he managed to cut a swath of sideburned hell-raising thru the gamblers and punks he ran with? the guy who gave it up when his kid was born, put away the easy money and dangerous thrill of taking it off another man with his wits and cunning so that he could have a steady reliable means of raising his new son and caring for the young italian wife he met crashing a party at a local catholic school? ever hear about that guy?
the guy who raised three kids, kids who turned out to be a dynamite mother, a tattooed businesswoman and, much to his chagrin and pride, a degenerate gambler and hustler who also wrote a couple of poems here and there? the guy who bought said son a guitar and forever altered the course of his possible futures and also instilled in him a love of reading and books? who taught him about responsibility and its proper application, explained the reason for having two bankrolls, separately wrapped in rubber bands when at the table, to play small cards out of position sometimes, to focus risk and know when to ignore the odds? who supported said son no matter what insanity the kid threw at him?
the guy who spent more than forty years with that italian bride and loved her more than himself, the guy who worked his ass off to make sure his family would prosper, who traveled the country building railroads, carrying upon him the romantic aura of a lone black steam engine rolling and smoking thru the american countryside?
who welled up with pride holding his grandson, and then, grandsons?
ever hear about him? the guy who lived a wondrous life, a rich life, the guy who dripped wisdom and intellect and a driven curiosity about everything he encountered? who papered his walls with newspaper clippings and post it notes and memos to himself and who passed that knowledge of things both large and small, of things emotional and clinical, matters of the heart and mind and spirit and future and past and things stupid and silly and hilarious and important, passed it on to his kids, his wife, his friends and all the rest?
the guy who could perfectly shuffle a deck of cards and also loved motherfucking penguins?
ever hear about that guy? who split this mortal coil on saturday, january second?
no? well, now you have.
I'll miss you, dad. we all will.