Grandfather Sends His Good Wishes [Video]

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.


Read more on Grandfatherhood on The Good Life.

Video, Music, and Image Credits go to Sergio R. Samayoa, with thanks from the author and the GMP

About David Jewell

David Jewell is a performance poet and photographer who lives in Austin. He a part of a music, poetry, and video collaboration called Electronic Planet Ensemble. His poem “Delusion Angel” is featured in Richard Linklater’s film Before Sunrise. Jewell was also in Linklater’s film Waking Life where he discusses the idea of a holy moment and then turns into a cloud. Some of his notable performances are opening for Laurie Anderson at the Paramount Theatre, as well as opening for Leon Redbone, Lydia Lunch, and the Austin Lounge Lizards.
If you would like to see more of his work, you can visit:


  1. I’ve always loved this one.

    Find a quiet moment
    dim the lights
    and remember.

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