Hillary Keel: Song by Tom Waits

Fall '12 TOC

Song by Tom Waits
for Bob Hewis
 
The flower's a rose
you bought from an Egyptian
(last time I saw you
at Kafka's)
and now dried over there
on the piano
 
first memory: Vienna, Theseus Temple
late summer reading, you
wore sunglasses at the microphone
and grinned with white teeth
in the sunshine, Who's that?
I wondered, your ego could
make roses wilt
 
but later dreamt
you wore red robes
walking along a hallway, we
stopped and looked each other in the face
and it was then I could see you
were a king
 
the secret is this: – and I never told
this to anyone – you once took me, told
me you liked my smell and the way
I straightened out my rug with the ball of
my foot when walking by in a hurry, it was
the night the police came to my Christmas party
and Alison fed them cake, later Peter went all green
and you started chiming in on how you loved me
for everyone to hear (and I loved you too, and told
you that several times). It was the second time I'd
left my husband and the first time for real and
even at my husband's house, remember how
you'd be so happy to sleep in the garden
cottage? later I tried it and loved
sleeping there, too, one
summer.
 
The secret is that
you'd said you liked
my smell
 
The song is by
Tom Waits
 
The point is this:
You had this voice, your
glow, the way you'd purse
your lips and breathe when
concentrated, your Humphrey
Bogart twitch and then you'd lower
your eyes, it was your story about the
meaning of Bonanza in Lincoln, the time
you showed up with a gashed head, "No
problem, Hill, I was riding my bike and got stuck
between a tram and a truck. Can I just wash my hair?"
and the elephant soap and your mother's garden, we all
captivated around Peter's coffee table with random wine
glasses, a couple cans of beer, some chocolate Easter eggs
in aluminum foil, as you made the gestures for someone
washing hands – that soap so holy to you.
 
The song is by
Tom Waits
about Mama's boys
not knowing when to quit, hammers
and nails raining down, an outside dish
overflowing, the song says
"Yes, it's true, there's nothing left for him down here."
 
Now you've gone and left us
all so sad.
Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
© 2012 Naropa University