Favorite

Light and poetry 

The Observer's only child turned 13 years old on Thursday of last week. If you've watched this space over the past 10 years or so, you've been witness to a good bit of that boy's growing up, from the tail end of The Diaper Era to young adulthood.

In a fit of remorse and joy over losing a 'tween and gaining a teen the night before Junior's odometer rolled over, The Observer had a rare visit from our fickle muse and wrote one of the sole extant examples of our poetry for him.

POEM FOR SAM ON THE EVE OF HIS 13th BIRTHDAY

I am no poet

But I will write one for you, because you have suffered me:

Lovesick, terrified fool who became your father.

Where is the boy I knew?

Whose cry I wept and blubbered over

Until a nurse took my elbow and ushered me out?

Who I once held cupped in both my hands

All of you in one place for the only time in your life?

Time and bonestretch has replaced you,

Made you taller than me at that age,

Taller, nearly, than my own father ever was

Mist on your cheekbones telling me

The clock is always sweeping toward daylight.

When you remember me someday

Separated by distance and eventually the veil,

Don't recall me in my failures

A thought worse than the grave,

That longer death of having the best of me forgotten.

Instead, remember me as I remember my own father:

In dusk, in firelight, at the darkest ebb of the eclipse

Walking in steep and treacherous places

Surefooted enough that I can remember

Every time I ever saw him stumble

And save himself from gravity.

In an effort to jumpstart our lagging holiday spirit, The Observer decided to take in an area tradition. Last year, our first in the Natural State, we missed the fanciful display in Sherwood Forest. To compensate, we decided that this year we'd do it right, up close and personal. We took a friend and our bikes.

It wasn't quite what we'd expected. Even though The Observer knew it was a driving tour, we didn't anticipate crawling bumper-to-bumper traffic, spilling onto either side of a paved jogging path. In our imagination, we owned the forest. We careened through a glittering tree tunnel, shouting our breathless regard to the Merry Men, and only very occasionally veering aside to let a solitary car pass.

We had to make the best of things. We walked our bikes and, every few dozen feet, tossed them aside to dash through a field of tiny angels or trip over near-invisible suspension wires, leaving larger-than-life elves and beanstalks wavering our wake.

Upon successful completion (marked by Shiva-Santa, a towering, leering apparition that waves phallus-shaped limbs), it was nearly 9 p.m. — time for lights-out. Not wanting to get caught in the dark with Shiva-Santa and the Merry Men, we circled back and started pedaling. We didn't make it far before realizing that the blathering law enforcement officer was indeed blathering at us. You can't go that way, he shouted. So which way should we go? we shouted. The only way is the highway, he shouted. We can't bike the highway. We have no lights and bad tubes, we shouted. Off our bikes and walking again, this time towards the cop, to negotiate our passage. How did we even get in? he thundered. We shrugged. No one had tried to stop us. He absolutely cannot let us go back through the display. What if a car hit us at 0.25 miles an hour? What if we go on the highway and a car hits us at 55 miles an hour, we countered.

That's when he turned his back. Friend and Observer beamed at each other, mounted our bikes and tore through Sherwood Forest, thieves-out-of-Nottingham style. The cars were gone, the lights twinkled and blurred, and we flew down the hill. It was exactly how we had imagined it.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • On shitholes

    The Observer is at home today in our kitty cat socks, weathering a combination sick day and snow day. Way down in Stifft Station, we live at the top of a hill that slopes away in all directions. That's good in a flood, but piss poor other than for sledding during snow and ice, especially when you only have access to a two-wheel drive car.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The job

    The Observer and Mr. Photographer were headed across town on our way to another press conference the other day when we got to talking about The Job. Newspaperin'.
    • Mar 15, 2018

Latest in The Observer

  • Beginnings

    • Feb 1, 2019
  • Phoenix

    If you're reading a paper copy of this esteemed publication right now, you're holding something special in your hands: the last weekly print edition of the Arkansas Times, the end of an unbroken chain that goes back and back, week by week, every week, to May 1992, when the Times became what the hep cats call an "alternative newsweekly."
    • Dec 20, 2018
  • Ramblin' Jack

    The Observer, like a lot of folks, is drawn to the real places: barbecue joints and honky-tonks, seedy truck stops and greasy little diners where the waitresses and clerks still call you "Hun," used bookstores that have been there since Faulkner was still drinking mint juleps, bait shops hung with dusty-eyed bass pulled up from the deep when Eisenhower was in the White House.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Young adults ‘aging out’ of Arkansas foster care system struggle to adapt

    Because it’s uncommon for older teenagers in foster care to be adopted, many are emancipated at age 18 or 21 without ever finding a permanent home. In the last state fiscal year, 235 young people “aged out” of the Arkansas system. Too old to be a ward of the state but unprepared to be cast out on their own, they entered adult life highly disadvantaged.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation