In memory of Sonic Mike~
I will never forget the image of Mike walking up the stairs to our Prescott Valley home for the first time. As I watched him climb the steps, I wondered, who is this man with a black flat top, black t-shirt, baggy jeans rolled at the bottom, held up with a belt that revealed a chain with a wallet attached to the other end, Doc Martens, a case of beer, and a smile from ear to ear. He didn’t drag along, but rather, he skipped with a giddy step, that said he was happy to be going wherever he went. I didn’t know it at the time, because his essence was so young and free, that he was an adult, much older than John and me. Over time his charm moved me passed his case of beer and his loud guitar and found a permanent place in my heart. His laugh was memorable and contagious; one that should be recorded and sold to the depressed. One would only need to press play and his laugh would wash their blues away. Of course, our daughter was instantly impressed. Funny he was, always teasing her in playful jest. Much to my chagrin, she was turning into a kindergarten groupie who sang his songs in the grocery store. The one she loved the most, “Jolee Take a Bath,” she sang over and over.
I can’t say the elder crowd was equally enthralled. When the amp began belting his tunes in the Prescott courtyard, with busted eardrums, away from the lawn they crawled. But his presence on the Prescott Valley Boys and Girls 24-hour Telethon was memorable and loved – just the energy needed to wake everyone up. When it was time to move south from our shared northern town, our daughter needed to part with some of her childhood toys. Of course, only someone whose essence was still that of a young boy would appreciate her parting gift – Mike was giddy when she handed him her purple Barney collection. He stayed in our lives, even after we moved away – less frequently than we would have liked – but we were happy to drive north and catch a few shows of Sonic Mike.
John was just passing through when he last saw his friend. He was so glad he found him at work; Mike’s laughing around the corner, revealed it was him. Thank goodness John stopped, because that chance would never come again.
~We miss you Mike. Thank you for being in our lives.
You Left Us on a Rainy Valentine
by Michele Lee SeftonI was with you the day before.
I would bring you, what was to be your last lunch.
Had I known, I would have chosen with more care.
We chatted; you laughed and dozed.
While you slept, I typed up a spreadsheet,
with a list of your meds.
“14-Font,” you told me it should be,
and then laughed and said,
“What the hell do I care.”
Your care was fleeting, you were letting go.
The signs were there, but we didn’t know
that these would be your final waking hours,
before your breath became labored
and your heart began to slow.
The next morning, I latched a heart pendant around my neck.
It was Valentine’s Day when we got the early call.
Blurring through traffic, we quickly rushed to your bed.
I watched your chest slowly rise, and then quickly fall.
I noticed the stretching of time with each pulse of your heart
and felt your skin, cool and clammy.
Time suspended, I stood gazing,
knowing these moments would be our last.
I said, “I love you dad” and kept stroking your hair.
A sigh came, not much different from the rest.
My hand on your heart told me what I already sensed.
With your final exhale, your soul was set free.
Your pain and struggles, in that moment, released.
I kept standing by your side, memorizing every detail,
before they took your body away.
Then I looked up at the window and noticed the drizzling rain.
I remembered how much you hated dreary wet days.
Not wanting our final moments to end,
I watched as the loved ones next to you began to multiply.
We prayed and cried, as we said our rainy Valentine goodbyes.
by Michele Lee Sefton
The corners of our cities –
dark, but not deserted.
The overlooked places –
where nameless shadows sleep.
Who are the shadows in the dark?
Shadows that retreat
with the light of each new day.
When the nameless become faceless,
as the living look away.
The invisible nameless among us
with no home to call their own.
They litter public spaces
with their bodies and their waste.
Who will gather the shadows
and show them the light of the day?
A court, a city, a church?
No one has the answer, but
Divine Intervention couldn’t hurt.
Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.