here’s the thing:
I knew only the edges of the man
to others went the task of knowing him
yet here I am writing of his
life and death
stewing in my ignorance
so you get this form of ignorance
and you pay attention or you lose.

Bill Metcalfe is dead
he was Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls
so out of place so talented such a waste

he wore life like an elegant frayed shirt
had an aura of quiet jazz
in a smoky blues club
and his sunken cheeks
were the young Sinatra in Pal Joey

his job was teaching high school history
don’t know the details beyond
the huge respect he earned
and almost flushed away with booze

two things I remember
how we all laughed
at a sixties staff party
when this skinny little guy
in a baggy unstuffed Santa suit
did a hilarious take on ho ho ho
and then broke into pure Sinatra with the band.
And I remember a couple of more recent encounters
grocery shopping
almost toothless
almost wordless
still carrying off the shambling shtick
a kind of dance
of better conversations
that have stopped.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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