Untitled (175)

One hundred and seventy-five
pounds nibbled away.
Like a pulp fiction horror story,
except this one was real.

The artist chose candy.
What would I chose,
to represent you?

Two hundred pilfered chocolate bars.
Three thousand shelled mussels.
Four hundred thousand juggling balls.
A million errant dice.

Or would I need just forty-three candles
that would never be blown out?
The dice landed on forty-two.

And just like that
one hundred seventy-five pounds
(it may have been more)
disintegrated to little more than bone.

You’d be the first to joke
you aren’t a number but a free man.
Old friend, I hope you are free,
now that the pain is over. 







This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Skyflower Saturday - Untitled We were to select one of the works of artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres for our inspiration. I chose "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.). The piece was intended as "an allegorical representation of the artist’s partner, Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991." The description reminded me very much of an old friend who had passed away due to Lou Gherig's Disease (ALS) and today happens to be his birthday. He would have been forty six this year.

36 comments:

  1. Oh, "the dice landed on forty-two." How poignant, and how young. A beautiful poem, Rommy.

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  2. So terrible, to have known someone being eaten by that terrible disease, the way you use numbers and make them really count is so effective.

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    1. The numbers idea came once I realized how significant the exact weight of the piece was to the artist. I was really moved by that detail.

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  3. I read the poem first before your explanation and felt the gradual wearing away of body and soul. It is a brave write, and stands as a tribute to the friend you lost. His struggle is remembered here.

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    1. Thanks Kerry. The timing for this prompt was just perfect

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  4. Through your words, I saw his physical form wane... and through the feelings that sparkle out of your lines, I also saw him smile, and say, "Yes. I still am. Because you keep me being."

    This broke my heart a little... It also reminded me of the power of memory... and of love.

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    1. And thank goodness for the power of both.

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  5. The dice landed on 42. I am with Magaly, this broke my heart a little.

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    1. I'm glad I was able to move people with this piece.

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  6. "The artist chose candy." - Let us remember this as we wipe the tears away.

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    1. Yes. Because candy is a joyful and fun thing. And our hearts may not heal, but they feel a bit better, remembering the joy.

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  7. "I am not a number, but a free man!" Got to love Number Six!!!!

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    1. Yes indeed. I wondered if anyone would get the reference to The Prisoner.

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  8. Worthy of multiple reads... I hear his voice - his strength, his humor coming through in this poem.

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    1. I'm glad I was able to convey that.

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  9. Read this quite a number of times, Rommy and it still haunts and tugs my heart. Big hugs!!

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  10. I had to read your poem a couple of times too, Rommy. The opening lines didn't give too much away or detract from the suckerpunch of:

    'Or would I need just forty-three candles
    that would never be blown out?
    The dice landed on forty-two.'

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    1. That was an emotional part for me to write.

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    1. There's always a scar left behind when someone close to us passes. But remembering the good times does help.

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  12. A beautiful poem and tribute, Rommy. Nice allusion to "The Prisoner" too.

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    1. Thanks Debra! It's been years since I've seen it, but I remember it fondly.

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  13. This is a REALLY cool poem.

    I saw it as being about anorexia.

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    1. I can definitely see that interpretation.

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  14. A fine elegy, Rommy, the image is a good portal to your sums (stanza 3 exceptional) and what we are left with is an enduring insubstantial, the measure of someone's life, their heart.

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    1. Thank you. The art moved me to consider how to measure the unmeasurable.

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  15. A lovely rendering of so sad a tale. Luv the game metaphor applied

    much love...

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  16. Your fifth verse is so gripping with the words "and just like that".... a mere moment till memory only.

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    1. It certainly felt that way. I remember getting the phone call from my husband when it was over. He was there the moment he died.

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  17. I am so sorry for your loss! Your friend died so young, to such a terrible disease! This was a beautiful tribute!

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    1. Thanks, this prompt was just very well timed with his birthday.

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  18. To think one can just be snuffed away at such a young age.It is just not fair!

    Hank

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