Two Poems in Memory of Joe P.
Photo Credit: Karina-Vorozheeva-unsplash
Poem №1 — Haiku Form
Life as chaos — no
BEAUTY — do I create thee?
Legacy of LOVE
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
Poem №2 — free form
We are born
Eventually we will die
Between the first and the last
Some create beauty, love, peace, joy
for others around them — strangers and friends alike.
You, Joe P, were one of those creators.
Joe P — ah, we will miss you.
You had joy that only comes from a connection to the Divine.
I saw that light in your eyes the first time we met at TMC.
My first impression was that you were a biker dude –
tattoos have that effect on me.
All God’s creatures are welcome at church, even biker dudes,
especially biker dudes. IF that was once your love,
I’ll never know. I never asked. I cannot ask now…
That child-like joy in your eyes was most pronounced
while serving others in the church.
You called TMC “God’s Corner.” And that it is, for sure.
You were more than just a great, former chef.
You were, at your core, The Church, not just TMC’s core.
The tears they flow
I will never know
When they’ll stop
Or when they will go.
You were just passing through.
Joe P. was but 45 when he moved on to another plane of existence. The date was Saturday, May 12, 2018, the day before Mother’s Day. Joe P. was a fixture at the church I have been attending for the past 5 years — Trinity Memorial Church (TMC). He was always there, helping others in need. He was there on Sundays for the service and for the repast following every service; he was busy in the kitchen on most Sunday’s preparing for that repast.
I knew from casual conversations with him that he had been struggling with addictions of many kinds over the years. TMC was his anchor — we have many support groups that meet in the evenings- AA and NA. I also knew that he was suffering from pain and was taking medication for it, as he had a bullet lodged somewhere in his upper thigh. A bullet that could not be extricated because of its location. I never really asked what that was about…it wasn’t my business.
What was quite obvious to anyone who met Joe P. is that he was a “people pleaser.” He loved to help others. He loved to cook for others. He was fond of saying “people need to eat.” And feed them he did. He was frequently in the church’s kitchen for various outreach activities.
He was a handy-man for his landlord doing various and sundry repairs. He liked to keep busy. Perhaps the busyness was his way of avoiding falling down that rabbit hole of addiction.
Our church Rector sent out an email yesterday about a conversation she had with one of the persons in attendance at Joe’s memorial service:
“At the funeral service for Joe a woman who is under treatment for cancer told me that she wants to work with TMC in any way she can. She said that without TMC in Joe’s life he would not have gotten out of bed for the better part of 5 years. She knew we accepted him whenever he came in the door and that Joe had had a relationship with us for longer than anywhere else over his last 20 years. She is grateful for our love.”
Joe P. had a light in his eyes — a light of joy. He brought joy to all of the people that he met. So, to read what this mourner had said to our Rector was surprising to me. I guess Joe P. found the love that he needed and reflected it back to all of us on “God’s Corner.”
I wrote these two poems about a week after learning of Joe P.’s death. I am unschooled in writing poetry…I realized that death is often my muse for poetry in particular. I suppose there’s still some “unprocessed” emotions related to the death of my mother (1978) and the death of my dad (2012) and the death of too many of my friends, students and colleagues over the years. Two of those friend’s death were from suicide, one in 1978 a few months after my mother’s demise and another in 2009 (a graduate student, sadly).
Thanks for reading!
Linda A. Robinson
Copyright June 6, 2018