Sunday, April 20, 2014

It's Cold Again, And That's That

My bed is a canvas. I come to on it every morning like a boxer hearing eight.

He told me while he was dying that he remembered going down three flights of stairs to shovel coal into a furnace if they wanted heat. He laughed in his way and asked no one, "Who doesn't want heat?" Later they moved to a ticky tacky box in the boonies where the train finally gave up, and there was this magic dial on the wall and the house got warm if you simply turned it. He never got over it, the marvel of it. He almost died with it, that wonder, on his lips.

It's gone, all that. I don't know whether I lost it or it was taken from me, but what difference would that make? It's cold again, and that's that. Unnumbered years ago our little faces barely poked up above the plateau of the battered kitchen table while our milk turned our ration of flakes to paste, mom resolutely ironing his breastplate before he went Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. There was no way we could know that to the man at the end of the table, born into a landscape so bleak I can hardly understand it, we were his offering, a sign of hope; and now you can't help but chew the bitter cud of doubt that his hope was misplaced. You've done so little with it. Barely managed to produce a batch of hope for yourself. You pray that hope, by its very nature, cannot be misplaced.

I don't care about the dimming of my eyes and the ringing in my ears; the stabbing pain like a rebuke, the residue of blows unseen and unprovoked; the passing of the seasons like palings in a picket fence as you drive down the street. I just don't want the referee to count ten before I prove he wasn't a fool to hope after all.


Leon said...

no fair! no fair, no fair you can write like that.

see, this is why i recommend people read your blog. i'd say i recommend you but your writing already does that...i can only be a sign post.

give us more.

julie said...


I hope you all are having a perfectly lovely Easter.

Johnny Glendale said...

If there was any semblance of organization in my head, I would cry, "Plagiarism!" I know, however, that such coherence, self-reflecting insight, and mastery of craft have no place in my melon, so I can only appreciate, and note with surprise, how your words resonate. As always, best to you and yours...his hope has been realized.

chasmatic said...


Your father, looking down on you from his celestial place, is mighty proud of you. His hopes were not in vain. You are a wealthy man to have a good family and a good life. Those riches are deserved, not stumbled upon, and are passed along to the next generation. You also give hope to us who read you. Thank you.

Sam L. said...

You're a good man, Mr. Sippi, and I hope letting out those dark views makes your life lighter.

drdave said...

Watching the video, after having read your words, the memories of my own family came rushing in like a tsunami from the past. Thanks, I needed that.

Leslie said...

Sipp throws open the doors with every turn of phrase. Delicious misery.

Anonymous said...

"Lighten up Francis" comes to mind.

I've seen your kids. You've nothing to be mauldin about.

Sam L. said...

Anon, if he were mauldin, the boys would look like willie and joe.

azlibertarian said...

From my perch, your words, your furniture, and your sons have been crafted with same excellence. Your father has much to be proud of.

Gagdad Bob said...

Nobody scores a touchdown. You only get to punt.

Which is fine. Takes the pressure off.

Pogo is Only Mostly Dead said...

Beautiful writing, and true.
Thanks for that.

Pogo is Only Mostly Dead said...

Though I believe the aim is to pass the hope down generations, for the eschaton.

My place is but to move the ball forward, and that is enough, all that anyone can do, albeit an infuriating powerlessness.

That sense of not fulfilling the goal remains, an ache for end of suffering, coming only at the end of time.

Your father was right, so was mine, but the hope was not you or me, but our children and theirs.