TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Grandparents

Secret Spaces

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The cool of green shade

steps to a secret place

locked doors of a shed

the innocence of childhood lost

in a matter of minutes

and no one knew

for years and years and years

dare break the silence even now

Grandpa did a naughty

and it remained

forgotten for years

until you shared your story

of what happened to you

there were other times

of lesser evil

but sketched in memory

enough to sting

even now

so many decades later

I have forgiven

but no longer forgotten

from so early in life

I adored him

the trust

etched deep wounds

though the misdemeanors minor

by most standards

just enough to give pause

if I see a secret place

all too inviting

for the sins

of

a forbidden intimacy

just enough to

add guilt and shame and fear

where they do not belong

inside me

in stillness

in the shade


A Secret Love

My husband’s look of love scares me,

turns off all emotion,
rendering intimacy hysteria for me
and forces a series of dogged pursuits by my Husband

whom I adore more than life itself.

Can’t turn off the flashbacks
loved Grandpa so
but not enough to do some hanky panky

that even as a child I knew to be wrong.

Bad enough the little sex games we did
when I was REALLY little and knew nothing of right or wrong,
just a fun game we played
till caught by Auntie who pronounced us both “disgusting”!
Why I never knew.
My fear that Grandma was jealous just made her laugh,
“Silly girl” to think such things.
What was there to be jealous of
between a little girl and her older husband?
What indeed!
What a deed!
She told me years later
he never was unfaithful

in all fifty years of marriage
“Ha!” I thought but never said,
“what he did with me
was that not infidelity?”

“You do the hanky panky

and you turn yourself around

and that’s what it’s all about.”

I remember that lewd smile even today.
Will it take me to my dying day to forget?
Oh how I loved him…
Taking me for after dinner walks
to catch fireflies,

silently sitting at the window together
at night after dinner,
watching the neighbors below,

Grandma in the kitchen,
Just him and me
a quiet bond between us,
or telling me bedtime stories of his youth.

My fault–
I was the seductress,
dancing in a hula skirt for him,
with tennis balls tucked into my aunt’s bra for breasts,
Hula dancing
to his songs he played on the mandolin.
Oh how I loved him!
No one knew.
I forgot about the “thing” between us till decades later,
when a friend talked about her incestuous abuse.

Oh how he loved me!
Arm around me always on the living room sofa
watching American Bandstand on the TV

giving me his whiskey-soaked cherry,
teaching me about art
making me the artist I am today.
Preaching the middle way to me

of relevance later, way later,
as it takes me a lifetime to learn the meaning of “I am Bipolar.”
Oh how I idolized him!
He carved the Lincoln Gettysburgh address, you know, in D.C, at the Lincoln Memorial
and many other illustrious statues.
He was a revered lawyer, working with veterans,
a self made man,
knowing no English
when he first came here
all alone at 16
and went to night school to learn English

while working as a sculptor
and then to law school.
He was a hero
helping poor veterans,
himself wounded in the war.
He was a hero
but no one knew

he was my hero.
“Of course he was having strokes,” my doc says.

“Maybe that explains the incest,” he says to me.
Men stick together
To defend the unspeakable
Which I just now speak out blasting loud and clear

in the blogosphere

for all to hear.

Naughty girl/old woman!
Just now allow myself the anger
while preserving the idolatry and Grandpa’s love

for such a love, and not irony this,

such a love is so VERY special!

 


The Line is Dead

She’s finally gone

after fighting for life for

6 months of painful half-life

and multiple causes of death.

               *

Gone is my last link

with Grandma and Grandpa

and happy days in Larchmont,

Grandpa playing the mandolin,

me dancing,

and Grandma cooking

unimaginable treats.

Happy days in Larchmont,

the Larchmont one weekend

Aunt Nina and I revisited

with our respective spouses

and cried tears of nostalgia.

                     *

Aunt Nina died Saturday,

the last of the LaMannas,

the aunt who knit the best-ever

Christmas stockings for

my brother and sister and me

which I still drag out every year.

The aunt who let me

play with her jewelry

in her blue bedroom

in Larchmont

with light that slid in

through the venetian blinds

and danced a jitterbug

atop Renoir prints,

with twin beds

covered in puff-ball bed spreads,

kept so clean by Grandma and

Aunt Nina wanting to sleep

and me pestering her to play.

                    *

Aunt Nina took me home once by taxi,

back to the city I hated

when I was sick.

She nursed me on the ride

And said “hang in there”

and held my hand

as I said to her a month ago

as she lay shriveled into a ghost

of her former self.

          *

Gone are the days

of spaghetti and meatballs,

Arancini and sugar cookies,

wine and mandolin,

chewing gum in the desk,

watching at the windows

with Grandpa, as evening

fell all around.

Days of Big Grandma Castiglione

in her light-filled, white-tiled,

lace-curtained, one-room apartment,

with holy water font

and the smell of steam

in the yellow kitchen.

             *

Gone are the days of

visiting Nina as she raised

her two “adopted angels”

as they were called,

and, who, with my uncle, she crafted

into two magnificent children

and later had four grandchildren

who adored them both.

Larchmont repeated.

            *

Gone are the days of

visiting Aunt Nina in Kent, CT

and later in Danbury,

now much older and

with my husband whom

Aunt Nina and Uncle Ray

welcomed with open arms

and grew to love,

my husband of almost 24 years

who never knew this love as a child

and so does not know its loss.

            *

Gone are the days

of a phone call

every few weeks,

Aunt Nina always seeming

happy to hear my voice as

she exclaimed “Ellen!”

as we talked about problems:

difficulties in the best of marriages

the downhill spiral of my Mom

after Dad died,

Nina giving support while

my husband and I cared for Mom

during her difficult path to death,

Aunt Nina listening to me recount

the downhill spiral of my brother

as he spent 3 years

dying of lung cancer.

And we talked of our

problems with anxiety

and later of her sorrow and fears

as her friends were dying

and she was fighting Parkinson’s,

bravely shouldering through every day.

           *

Gone are the days

of pasta salads and olives

and prosciutto and provolone

as Aunt Nina and Uncle Ray

visited our little barn upstate,

where we laughed and laughed

in the Memorial Days sunshine.

          *

Gone gone gone

my Italian heritage,

the last of my blood elders.

Aunt Nina was there

For 63 years,

All of my life

and all I can do

is cry

and try

to imitate

her admirable character.

For the Lord giveth and

the Lord taketh away

but why such pain

when he taketh away?

          *

Because love grew

year by year

visit by visit

phone call by phone call.

I did thank her,

before the end began,

in a foresightful note,

telling how great an aunt she was.

God put the thought in my head,

and for that I am grateful,

for now it is too late

for now the line is dead.