Old Granddad

I still go by the house and
sit with him whenever I am
in town – some of the time
I think he knows me.

He is always in the pool room,
though to him it will always be
billiards. He doesn’t play anymore,
arthritic hands cannot hold cues,
blurry eyes wont line up a shot.
The red felt is faded, a tear by the
side pocket from his last game,
the table light does not work, dust
on the balls and sticks.

There are old black and whites of
him on the wall – from his heyday
Grandma used to say. Handsome,
dark hair slicked back, wingtips on.
Best player in the southeast they
used to say; I never did beat him.
I remember watching him dance
around that table when I was small,
amazed at the shots he would make,
the seriousness of his concentration.

I never payed attention then to the
highball always in hand, or on the edge
of the table, brown liquid and ice.
Everyone of age in the room had one.
Today, the glass is the first thing I
notice. Still clenched in fingers that
seem to have been gnarled to the
task. He drinks always, but not a lot.

He is usually watching TV – the news
or the weather, I don’t think it matters –
but he pays attention, just a little more,
when I put on the Hustler. He smiles
when a rack is broken and salutes Newman,
every time, when he orders J.T.S. Brown.

Written for the Poetic Bloomings prompt to use ‘Old” in the title of a poem.

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7 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

7 responses to “Old Granddad

  1. You’ve captured an era quite well, Mark. And the “highball” was the drink of choice back in the day on the eastern side of Ohio, where I grew up.

    Nice work.

  2. you paint him so vividly that i can see him and smell the dust on the cues…so sad when you lose what you loved most all your life…very well written mark

  3. wow you captured him very well in your words…i think sometimes he knows me…ugh…i know that feeling…and his moments of recognition too in the end with the breaking…you have to smile in those to keep from crying…

  4. This is a vivid write about an era as much as a person—and written with such heart. Lovely, lovely write!

  5. hedgewitch

    Strong descriptive narrative that captures character, time and place with a soft familiarity and a harder knowledge. Old is not for sissies–and hard to prepare for. Enjoyed the nod to the great Paul Newman and his iconic film. Excellent piece.

  6. I can hear the click of the balls and see their colours, rolling…

  7. A vivid and lovely tribute, Mark. I especially like this b/c I notice, too:

    Still clenched in fingers that
    seem to have been gnarled to the
    task.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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