David Jewell remembers his grandfather and associates him with their shared rituals, in this poem and its accompanying video.
Grandfather sends his good wishes
The smoke around my grandfather was thick and more beautiful
than a cumulus cloud on the first day of summer
and every piece of his clothing had a burn spot from a cigar
the steering wheel of his car was covered with burn spots
burn spots were his trade mark.
He always had about five cigars in the breast pocket of his suit coat
and whenever I saw him the first thing I’d do was leap for the cigars
and he’d guard them with his hand and wouldn’t let me at them,
but he’d always give me the paper ring from the cigar
after peeling off the cellophane
and I’d wear the paper rings all day.
Lavish smoke danced forever around his head of thick white hair.
We would get into his car and I’d search for new burn marks
on the seat cover.
I’d point them out and he’d smile,
“Now how do you suppose that got there?” he’d ask, as ashes tumbled
down his suit to the floor of the car,
and the car wasn’t just any car,
it was a 1955 green Cadillac sedan
that floated down the road like a whale.
He was the most generous man I’ve ever known
and would drive me anywhere I wanted to go and taught me
how to skip rocks, saying one for the money two for the show
three to get ready and four to go.
He would take me and my friend (who he always asked,
“How did you get out of jail?”) to the amusement park
and buy us endless rolls of tickets for any ride we wanted
until we were saturated and satiated.
He would buy us ice cream in quantities children could barely dream of
then light his cigar and tell a story from the Odyssey,
how Ulysses outsmarted everyone even the Cyclops,
and we’d be removed from time and the afternoon as we sat
in the motionless car, until I’d digested my ice cream
and he’d had another cigar.
He would blow smoke rings for me perfect round O’s of smoke
that drifted from his mouth into the air
expanding until they became part of the air and disappeared.
He was my one and only wizard and sometimes
even now he calls me back.
Video, Music, and Image Credits go to Sergio R. Samayoa, with thanks from the author and the GMP