American Sentences for Pop

Barbara, Paul Jr. Paul Sr. Andrew and Linda Nelson 1968?

I read Nine Sonnets for Pop and a few of these 17 syllable poems at my Dad’s grave today as his remains were interred at the family burial plot in Elmhurst, Illinois. My siblings shared some stories of Dad and we sang a bit of Mr. Mr. Johnny Rebeck:

Oh Mr. Mr. Johnny Rebeck,
How could you be so mean
We told you you’d be sorry
For inventing that machine
All the neighbors’ cats and dogs
Will never more be seen
They’ve all been ground to sausages
In Johnny Rebeck’s machine

One day a boy came walking,
He walked into the store
He bought a pack of sausages
And placed them on the floor
Then he began to whistle,
He whistled up a tune
And all the little sausages,
They danced around the room

Oh Mr. Mr. Johnny Rebeck,
How could you be so mean
We told you you’d be sorry
For inventing that machine
All the neighbors’ cats and dogs
Will never more be seen
They’ve all been ground to sausages
In Johnny Rebeck’s machine

11.22.03 – Almost as loud as next-door neighbor’s rap – whistling of Pop’s hearing aid.

2.04.06 – Pop comes to town says: Your Mother keeps that place so cold you can hang meat.

8.05.06 – Pop, don’t they know the international symbol for too much? I guess not!

4.05.07 – They want a stool sample, what a load of crap! No Pop, it’s just a smidge.

10.21.07 – Pop tells Barb: You don’t have to be nice to her today, it’s not her birthday.

1.18.08 – During his morning pill ritual, Pop’s disgusted when I bring vitamins.

1.19.08 – Pop gives my chicken dinner high praise: This tastes better than Amtrak.

1.21.08 – Steve suggests Grandpa has stolen the pants of wrestler Haystack Calhoun.

2.16.08 – Today Pop tells me: I can’t complain, then he says the weather sucks.

2.16.08 – Finish cel phone chat w/ Pop. movie marquis reads: No Country for Old Men.

6.15.09 – Pop on Cousin Steve: He’s not worth the powder it would take to blow him to hell!

12.12.10 – Pop tells Barbarita when he’s dead she can go yell at his grave.

2.27.11 – I don’t remember what year it was Pop stopped smiling in photographs.

5.6.12 – Pop talking about Santiago’s screwball: I guess it just didn’t screw!

Rebecca Rose, Andrew Glenn, Lesbia Matilde and Paul Everett Nelson Jr. after the post-funeral meal at the Polish buffet. Photo by Cyndie Nelson.

About Splabman

SPLAB and Cascadia Poetry Festival founder Paul E Nelson wrote American Sentences (Apprentice House, 2015), Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, Germany, 2008), a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme, Brazil, 2013). Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, in 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, Brenda Hillman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others, including many Cascadia poets. He lives in Seattle and writes at least one American Sentence every day. https://www.paulenelson.com. Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, he is in year five of a twenty year Cascadia Bioregional Cultural Investigation. www.CascadiaPoetryFestival.org (Oct 12-15, 2017, Tacoma, WA)
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One Response to American Sentences for Pop

  1. Marjorie Rommel says:

    Great stuff, Paul — and I love the photo! Why mourn the death instead of celebrating the life? You sure look like him! Now, I mean, not then…

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