Ronald Palmer – All The Family Stories I’m Try

Ronald Palmer

All The Family Stories I’m Trying Not To Tell

Aunt Trudy fell asleep with a cigarette in bed

             They say the Nineteenth Century house lit up the three AM neighbourhood

Like a Connecticut bombsite like an Alabama church burning like an American chriss-
miss tree and Aunt Mary

Was Trudy’s love her life her cat-eyed glasses Bette Davis dresses fem

to her shorthaired flannel shirt squat bulldog sweetest laugh butch

             And Mary

                         Carried Trudy through the burning house while wispy strands of her
unpinned grey hair singed at the licking flames

the fire releasing all the ghosts in black smoke without names,
She carried her

Through two feet of new snow and yes it was still snowing the portrait the American
Family forgot to paint

             Stumbling through the front yard

uphill toward the only hospital in town, which was closed for renovation

And here the story gets blurry, which is my main problem with narrative,

             and perhaps why so many are disgusted by the story

             But why I must keep telling it: Which is why I keep telling it:

She died in her arms she died in her arms Trudy died in Mary’s arms

             And for thirty years at family picnics Trudy was known as Mary’s friend
And now this story seems trite since naked girls kiss on the television now

Even though Uncle Kenny was from the city and worked in the cannery for Pepsi

wore mink coats and carried a shiny pocket book,

and this was before the Stonewall revolution!

Yet twinks get kinky on Avenue inky all the time now all over the world and it’s no big

Yes they say it’s in the family, yes they say it’s in the genes: and I wanted to be just like
Mary and Trudy

                                     With a glass house filled with the smell of earth out in back

of their big white house and they grew plants and flowers

and there was love in the house and books in the house

And I knew my father must be like them but let us not speak of the father until he dies

Let us keep pretending so beautifully that our secrets bloom like cigars at a wedding

When all the men strut through the reception yard puffing and nodding and speaking of

And the story has begun to bore me. And line breaks have begun to bore me.

Yet two more stories nag at me:

             Mother with her greying cunt
(I had to add a cunning line for Kathy).
teasing me at the kitchen table taunting me strangely

With her womb, I said Mom you can’t do that to me, I’m a man now, I’m not three
anymore and she went back to bed shamed and sick in her wanting sickness.

             Father didn’t want to touch her I suppose, and what of all those miniature cancers

Growing webs in the corners of the room and what of all those walks at Fairfield Beach?

And what of my secrets my lies doesn’t everyone have them creeping around

             Or has the apparent anonymity of Internet porn and manic search of the perfect
orgasm also lost its sheen? Everyone’s clean and new again which is why

I always return to the unknown because what is known has begun to bore me

My grandfather’s father was unknown to him

so his mother took him into her home as her brother

The unknown mister a professor with a penchant for the trysts with student kisses from a
teenage mistress—
                         At the age of Christ’s crucifixion, 33 without omission,

he was told point smack: your mother is your sister

which drove him further into drink instead of the opposite blister.

             When the universe pauses and blips back into first spark I’ll be dumb with ego

When my brain goes dark.
Bark Bark,
Toilet burp, imploding cosmos,

bacteria of the galaxy be warned! Bark Bark Bark!

             From the neighbour’s lonely dog who sounds like a man

In awe of the moon, asking its glowing the same stupid question

again and again and again.

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