Neil.  09.08.2015

What a strange place to be

Sending intermittent thoughts

Small prayers to ‘wasband’
he who was my husband

On the untimely but not altogether unexpected death of his brother,

Cornelius “Neal”


Named for their father


late last week, diseased liver and rattled core

gave up and ghosted him to the other side

younger at heart than most of us and most of our offspring,


with a profound lack of grounded responsibilities or any sense of sobriety

textbook wild spirit

genuine freebird *ignited lighter into the air*

Galahad and gadfly of bar rails and car-lifts

Vodka & Vicodon

Skynrd, Allmann

less refined but just as earthy

mortared with talent and deep soul


lost cause

failure to launch

rugged, salt & peppered smug grin who

never failed to glean a bosomy date or black eye from her husband, mate

or (in a few cases) a wits-end father


Swinging fists and spittle swearing from

the womb to the pine box

helluva ride

all before 58 or 59, definitely before 60


I am glad I met the other, younger, brother first.

I am learn’ed from both men, in the hardscrabble ways of wheeling and dealing for affection and second chances

though the lessons go unpracticed by my hand


He would have sold snake oil just for the sake of making a sale, and been all the more happy to white-knight-drive you to the doctor when it made you ill. With remorse, with a large battered heart, with loud rasping voice as if shout-talking over a taproom crowd, even when it was dusk alone or a baby’s christening in church.


He, best man to my then groom, arriving early that damp October afternoon. Half past the hour, an hour earlier than printed. He made sure to have the groom early, too, as it was his reputation to be late everywhere and always.


He cried through the entire service. Blubbering huge mantears down the front of his tux. His unspoken yet precious wedding gift to me — no one else – he made that very clear — was his sobriety

(for the service)


I was moved to tears.


He was present and fine past the picture-taking but stalled hard before we cut the cake. He took up with one of the photographers (both women) and they enjoyed each other’s “company” (to be polite) several times, apparently at great auditory exhibition, in her car in the front parking lot of the Garden City Hotel. I admired both his libido and his lack of decorum as I slept in my own hotel bed alone that night, the newly minted Mrs. No-body staring into the future


He cried again the day my child arrived and came, timid gusto, to sit and hold her.  Bundled bean curled against the mechanic’s arms. He held her for almost an hour in near-silent awe, and softly cried and told her the world would be kind…to her.


His baby gift was to arrive sober — just to be able to hold her. I’d anticipated him not showing or showing up three-sheeted or with yet another nameless dingbat on his arm. But, he arrived smoke-free, smacking of nothing more than Old Spice and a leather jacket.


Rest in peace, my once-brother-outlaw.

They’ve saved a pick, a stool, and a fine bottle of something just for you.

The music will be incredible, as you knew.

With respect, always,


 djdawson Sept 8, 2015

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