11/11/19 Bruce Fessenden hosted by Jim
Bruce lives in Berkeley and is co-owner of Fessenden Firewood with his partner Christine. He has been deeply immersed in the natural world his entire life through the activities of backpacking, climbing and skiing. A book of his poems —“Crimson Coat” — was published in 2014 by Goldenstone Press. Pieces of Bruce’s writings have appeared in a MoonShine Star Co. anthology called “What is Love”, and also in Richard Grossinger’s book “2013”. A second volume of poems, titled “Bones” will be published shortly.
My Mothers’ Mother was a gentle woman
I remember her deep set, brown eyes.
She had a hearing aid, like a little microphone
all that was available in the 50s.
She had her hearing aid as long as I can remember
her hearing impaired by typhoid fever
is the story I was told.
An uneducated woman living in a rooming house
as a boy I felt we were connected close.
Two quiet souls, filled with empty time
and the occasional unfriendly ghost.
When in high school, I’d drive
her to her solitary room
in my fathers’ forest green sports car.
He never gave her a single penny
he was blind in so many ways.
Often I wonder why a few rise up
while the others struggle and fall.
Hands of the clock easily seen
but the inner gears remain hidden.
I’ve heard it said
broken ones of this world sacrifice themselves
discarded fruit enriching the soil.
She liked menthol cigarretes and dime store crime novels.
Who was the kindly elementary school teacher
who taught her how to read?
Welfare checks and food stamps, TV in the lobby
Bathroom and showers at the end of the hall.
The last forty years of her life
spent in that solitary room
with her paperbacks, her cigarretes, her silence.
For the forgotten ones, its almost a blessing
to be so broken, and disassociated from their grief.
She lived her life a little bit stunned
in that way we are so much alike.
There was not a single instance her entire life
where my father realized
that she actually existed.
Its october now, my favorite time of year
angle of the sun so sublime.
I don’t even have a photo of her
my memory of her face grows hazy in my mind.
Too many people never find their place
punch the clock, ground up for fodder.
A choir sings sweetly
from the other side of the horizon
I stand tall and take the next step.