Thursday, December 16, 2010

bowling with Petraglia

he always wanted
to be a good poet
whose poems people would read
books they would buy
maybe go on Oprah
get a break

he thought it would be
like being a good bowler or golfer
without much practice
a natural at some things

after a while

a lifetime

he knew that he wouldn’t play professional golf
or bowl against the likes of Johnny Petraglia
at an age where his drives were shorter
strikes and spares
fewer, his poems seemed better
less personal, more provocative
darkly funny
still, he knew
he would be no Billy Collins

by then, even Oprah was going off the air

Barry DeCarli
©2010 Barry DeCarli

Winter day in Vermont

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Life Does Not End

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. - Albert Einstein

Monday, October 11, 2010


he began reaching out
behind him
to his left side
knowing someone was there to take his hand
sensing some seriousness
as high-flow oxygen hissed
in his chapped nostrils

I am not going home
I have no clothes here

his left hand moved toward his forehead
we thought he was in pain
and called for a nurse

but, maybe he was just trying to remember
struggling to pull just one
more memory out
a lucid argument that would allow him to live
a little while longer

the morphine delivered
a detached, dreamy comfort
as the demands of his body
diminished one by one

when finally
the promise of his soul
let him go

Barry DeCarli
October 8, 2010
Copyright 2010 Barry DeCarli

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lost September

We spent the month of September on a vigil with my father-in-law, John P. Rooney, who was initially hospitalized with a fever. He was immediately diagnosed with a urinary infection and began antibiotic treatment. John had a medical history that would startle many, and yet he survived for over 30 years battling many very serious ailments. This hospitalization turned out to be a roller coaster ride of hopes raised and hopes dashed on a daily basis. One day, we were advised to call John's son in Colorado and encourage him to fly east immediately, which he did. Upon his arrival, John was in ICU and looking like he'd be home soon. Two weeks later, John died.  He was 81 and our 6 to 11 hour days of bedside vigil were over. From the day of his hospitalization on August 30th until he died on September 27th, John did not give up his desire to "live a while longer" and to eventually go home again. He was a gentle fighter in his life who never learned how to say "no." He was always there to help - you couldn't stop him. He helped create, with his wife Sylvia,  a wonderful family of 3 daughters and 3 sons that yielded many grandchildren and great grandchildren. It has been my good fortune to be married to one of those daughters. Through Debbie, I have been welcomed into a wonderful family for the last 22 years. All of these sons and daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, many grandchildren and others were there during that long, difficult vigil in two hospitals. I have yet to come to an understanding of all that occurred during that month, but I do know that it was remarkable in many ways.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Night Supper

Getting ready for our (every)  Friday Night Supper: bruschetta, pasta w/garlic, olive oil & parmesan cheese and a class or two of pinot grigio. Simple & satisfying, a great meal to go along with the company and the conversation. Lots of laughs and maybe a few raised voices - typical family fare with a little religion, a bit of politics and, with any luck some Ireland & Italy thrown in. See you soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beginning Retirement

This will be my first school year since 1988 when I don't return to the classroom later this month. I am almost overwhelmed by the possibilities before me. At the same time, it's feels a bit daunting to face that expanse of time &  freedom. Since I am always off during the summer, my first real day of retirement will be August 26th - the day I would have gone back. Maybe, I'll even celebrate that day. I am beginning to chart a new course.