Yet More Excerpts From Another Awkward Eulogy…

May 14, 2011

Tim: And now, if you’ll all open your programs to page seventeen…

Mother: Tim, son, it’s just me and your father here. You know that, right? And you know that we love you, and that’s why we’re here. To support you in your time of need, because that’s what loving parents do. Which we are. Loving parents. And also sorry for your loss.

Tim: …and read along with me.

All [in unison, the father a touch behind, almost like a delay or echo of the type one associates with phone calls where their own voice bounces back to the speaker, who wonders if the party to whom he or she is speaking can hear it as well and is just trying not to be impolite]: The darkness drops again (again), but now I know (know), that twenty centuries of stony sleep (sleep),
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle (cradle).

Tim [Mother and Father continuing, finishing with the passage from "Second Coming" and beginning "The Wasteland" while Tim intones over them, eyes closed, arms outstretched as if to connect with some formless other]: Oh Juvius Pluvius Archamandri. We come here today not to celebrate a life but to grieve at that life’s loss. Too, too soon.

Father [under breath]: The goddamned dog was seventeen years old. That’s near-unheard of for a large breed.

Mother [continuing with Canto III]: The wind, crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

Tim [weeping now, and slicing lightly at his bared chest with an obsidian blade]: When in fear I did reach my hand down in bedroom darkness, who did lick my hand in quiet comfort?

Father: I’m about done, here.

Mother: The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends…

Tim: This is the call and response part. When I ask a question, you guys are supposed to answer with Juvius Pluvius Archamandri. Let’s try again. When I did not make chess club in my junior year, whose soft fur was it caught my tears?

Father: That dog, whattever its goddamned name was, that you took to prom. That’s whose soft fur caught your tears.

Mother [continuing with Canto III, rocking slightly now]: The nymphs are departed. And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors, departed, have left no address.

Tim: Mom! You’re messing it up.

Father: Gladys, your upsetting the boy. We’ve apparently moved on to something else.

Tim: When I wore my gaucho pants to the skating rink and had them torn from me and was only returned them after Mitch Saunders had wiped his ass with them, and then only as a form of crude headdress, who…

Father: Gladys, get your purse. We’re going to the car.

Mother: White bodies, naked on the low damp ground, and bones cast in a little low dry garret…

Tim: Wait! The guy whose supposed to play “Taps” on the clavichord isn’t here yet.

Father: Goodbye son. If you ever decide you want the help you need, call us.

Tim: But you’re supposed to be a pallbearer, dad. I can’t lift him all by myself.

Father: Get the goddamned clavichord player to do it.

Tim: The clavichord player’s in a wheelchair.

Mother: Rattled by the rat’s foot only, year to year.



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