together

An Elegy to Uncle John

Today, I'm pleased to share with you an incredible poem by Christian Mack. Every month, I will be featuring a piece of art submitted by our Fraction members – be it poetry, photography, painting, video, etc. Whatever your craft, I'd love to see it. Check out Fraction today for an opportunity to see your work here come June, and please give Christian all the love possible for his piece here. 

 

An Elegy to Uncle John

by Christian Mack

I thought you should know you missed
my party last night. In fact, you weren’t around for the last
fifteen. I wish that you were more to me than the pictures
that hang on Nana’s wall; in those you are just
a boy; your face has an innocence that is absent
in the dust-ridden portraits of your later years.

Nana keeps those hidden away even though it’s been years
since the alcohol that you made your God killed you. It’s hard to miss
how the presence of your name fills the room with your absence; 
it is as if the gravity of you keeps the family grounded. The last
time we all left the earth, astronauts defying the laws of physics, was just
a little while ago when dad told stories of the boy in the pictures;

we laughed at your soccer mishaps, your bad haircuts, how you pictured
the world as a clay ball you would one day mold in your own image. The years
of realization are not kind to young, idealistic boys; it is just
to be angry at the world. I can’t blame you. A childhood missing
a father is a cold reminder that astronomical dreams don’t last. 
I wish that that reminder had not been so world-shaking; your absence

reminds me that I never really knew you. We sat together once, absent
mindedly watching Bugs Bunny; that is the only picture
of you I can recall. I want to have more. I want memories that will last, 
but you died the next day. Now all I can do is grasp at fragments; for years
I have clutched tightly to what I have pieced together of you, afraid, like mist, 
it might slip through my fingers. I wish that for maybe just

a day I could speak with you. I don’t want to know a lot, just
your side of dad’s stories (the side that is always conspicuously absent) 
and what you thought of Nana’s pies and why you left so soon. I miss
you, or at least the idea I have of you. In my mind, I can picture
both of us, floating, unhindered by gravity; all of the years
you have been gone could not possibly bring us down to earth. This can’t last

though; these are ideas, fantasies, fragments. You are dead, and the last
time I saw you, you were a man visibly pulled down by the world. It’s just
the way that things are. I have come to the realization over the years
that you were an infinite amount of details, and your old portraits, absent
from the walls where they belong, are only worth a thousand of them. Pictures
of you are just snapshots of times I will never understand. You’ve missed

the last fifteen birthdays I’ve had and I’ve missed
yours. I don’t need ideas of you anymore; now I’ve just chosen to picture
only myself as an astronaut, lightyears away from the gravity of your absence.

 


Thank you for reading this poem. An Elegy To Uncle John is a piece written by one of the members of Fraction: an online platform where fans and friends of Levi The Poet can sign up, not only to receive exclusive writing and content from me, but to submit work of their own to be discussed and considered for publication. I loved this poem immediately. It is heartbreaking and beautiful, and I'm thankful to be able to share it. 

I'd love to invite you to consider joining Fraction, yourself, on either a Yearly or Monthly basis. Your membership supports this Levi The Poet project, as a whole, including other things like being alive. If you'd like to consider participating in Fraction with a bunch of other folks, please check it out here

Finally, give a shout-out to Christian Mack for contributing his art to this world.