Once again, as if to round out the month, the poem I had been planning to finish the event with is not the one I’m publishing tonight. Again, an article I read about 100 year old New York serviceman who died due to complications with COVID19. This led to me playing with voice & POV & trying to put the scant biographical facts I had about him into a poetic first person monologue. Which lead me to research more about him. Thankfully the first article I read was the least evocative & I found some beautiful stories/snippets in other obituaries.
As much as I liked the other idea, it seems right & fitting to end with this moving personal story that spans the centuries.
Philip Kahn: a semi-imagined poetic obituary
everyone should understand by now history always
replays versions of itself for its own amusement.
he was born at the end of the war to end all wars
— then fought in the next one that came along.
on the ground, at Iwo Jima, survived snipers — & a booby
trap which blew him 15 feet from where he stood.
from the air, over Japan, flew B29s & dropped
bombs — then carried their weight the rest of his life.
he helped the Twin Towers go up
— then like everyone else, watched them come down.
married in 46 & remained happily wed
— until Rose’s death last summer.
yet always — he carried a void with him.
i was that void. Samuel. twin. died 1919.
taken by two pandemics — a century apart.
a life lived — & one that only watched.
the irony of our deaths — is my brother
& i are bookends on a shelf that never ends.