Saying Goodbye

We took a few rides
Along the Jersey side
I wasn’t quite five
My father would drive

Felt so simple
Dr. Seuss
Found poetry

Frozen vigil, sprinkles bright
Imagine plays to fireflies
Dad’s face lit cast
Yellow dash light
His words made me think
Wonder for life

We never saw an apple tree
No strawberry fields
Couldn’t sleep counting sheep
Growing up scared of snakes and eve
Monkeys, gremlins, gnomes, skinned knees
Scuffs on shin guards, muddy cleats
Fuzzy dreams like Gypsy Moth fleece
Chalk outlines, blood on each street
First time I heard the word insanity

‘Cause his Beatle had died
He blinked teary eyes
Sniffling sighs
My father had cried

Cursing some madman
The Catcher in the Rye
Guilt calling shotgun
Dad said goodbye

Care for a reading?


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*Also shared on Friday Poetically with Brian Miller (3/25/11)

97 Responses to “Saying Goodbye”

  1. Wow…what an image ur words painted here…never seen my Dad cry, wouldnt want to though. Outstanding write like you do.


  2. That made me quite misty-eyed, Adam!

  3. wow adam – this was powerful and emotional..brought tears to my eyes..

  4. Outstanding poem Adam, made tears come to my eyes. Hugs Vi

    • @Cindy @Claudia @Viola…. thanks for sharing your emotional RXNs with me. Your feedback helps me reevaluate my style and learn. cheers, my friends

  5. Love the memories you share here – much of it has the 5 year old’s perspective

    always a delight my friend – always

  6. Wonderfully touching. The sentiment behind this poem has also made me teary, then I listened to the reading, and reached for the handy andies.

    Excellent 🙂

  7. Wow…this is a wonderful poem…really enjoyed this one a great deal…fine memories built into it.

  8. You mayn’t have seen an apple tree, but he sure showed you the Big Apple!! That view is simply breathtaking!!! My husband and I stare out our window everyday and allow it to sink in…
    Phheeww…sorry about the digression.. I just got carried away…
    Your poem had such a tender feel to it, that depending on the reader’s mood, he/she can be taken to different places…

    I would HATE to see my dad cry! I cannot even imagine such a thing… most awkward really! I liked the way you brought it our here, Adam… his trying hide his tear in the million shards of lights in the backdrop… how very dad-like!! Your choice of words is, as ever, EXCELLENT!!!

  9. Hi! used to live off Rte 3 up by the Meadowlands. Not quite the same view, but it’s hard to miss the enormity of The City. I like how you call it dad-like: “hide his tear in the million shards of lights.” TY, Kavita 🙂

  10. Powerful stuff. Many cried on that day.

  11. So very poignant. Excellent.

  12. um…is that end what i think it is…it sends all the memories before it into a swirl…kinda snuck up on me there…whew…great write adam…

  13. that really made me tear up.

  14. I am left with a mix of emotions. Well written. 🙂

  15. wow, what a vivid memory! Thanks for sharing this touching piece of family memory.

  16. Wow. Such a raw thing – the emotion, the power, profoundly resonating resonating through. Begins almost magical, and flows enthrallingly into the sadness of that moment…I can only imagine what that time must have been like. Love the way you wove the Beatles’ and other works into your writing here, to go along so perfectly with the event.

  17. I think about the first time I saw my Dad cry. I was so moved. Your words have the same effect. I love the way you pulled me in immediately with your first line. Great poem! Great tribute to your dad and his Beatle.

  18. And that really was the day the music died. We were singin’ bye bye Miss American Pie..oh happiness was not a warm gun..and the tears did rain down that day. What a capture here, Adam, from your perspective and the sympathy for your dad, for John, and the music. Of course I loved this piece!

  19. Brings to mind all kinds of family trips — and tragedies. Good one, Adam.

  20. Convinced this is just fiction so as to be able to say you rock , man… everything you writ eleaves in me a new poetry experience in the soul… or something like that

    Great One – as always- all ways!

  21. This was like a ride through your childhood, Dustus. Enjoyed every bit of it. Just beautiful. I saw my father cry once…there is something painful and raw in a father’s tears.

  22. I love the cadences of this poem. The subtle shifts in tempo are lovely. The scene is set well and the ending is powerful.

  23. A nice poem of memories of your dad. I read it first, and then listened to your reading. Such a nice reading.

    Thanks for the visit to my blog. Always appreciated.

  24. Teaching vulnerability with a tear.

  25. It takes one, talent to recognise another, It takes one eyes to appreciate beauty, one’s care to appreciate love. better stop before I write a whole poem. Father and Son bond, spelt out in poetry

  26. The stronger the man, the more profound the expression of his emotion. This is look at life, love and meaning… through your father’s eyes and through your words.

  27. Powerful memories for a five year old. It was a sad day for many, regardless of who their favorite Beatle was. Beautiful, Dustus.

  28. Beautiful portrail of a Father, Son bond. It is very sad to see a parent cry, more so a Father as they normally hold back that emotion. Great one shot!

  29. One of your best…your dad, the memories, I too remember the day John died..(hard to see a father cry when one is so young)….the shock….where is sanity in the insane….in Dr. Suess, in Green Eggs and Ham….Wonderful Write…..bkm

  30. G. K. Asante Says:

    Poignant, perky and heart-wrenching. The last lines echo in the back of my mind.

  31. Wow. Brilliant!

  32. Intense poem. The sense of the music dying, and your father dying, all wrapped together with the memories of childhood. Gives a lot to think about.

  33. Wonderful detail, end rhymes, strong visual imagery, the sense of innocence lost forever, of a domestic scene upturned amid the world’s craziness — this poem works well on so many levels. Great write.

  34. Effective melding of cultural references and raw grief. Powerful.

  35. I remember that day like it was yesterday.
    Howard Cosell broke the news to America during Monday Night Football.
    Fantastic One Shot Adam….G

  36. patty sherry Says:

    Hi Dustus, I was in gym class when Lennon died, I remember my gym teacher crying.. I live on the Jersey side. Great One Shot and so close to home. xo

  37. What a powerful poem. Those childhood memories always seem to be the most vivid, and you’ve turned it into such a great poem.

    Mine is here.

  38. Awesome, a beautiful read, I listened to you read it the second time. I remember it too, still doesn’t seem quite real even after all these years – the tears shed that day must have filled a mighty river…

  39. I’m of your dad’s generation, and your writing brought a very tough, senseless event back that I thought I had assimilated, from an entirely new perspective. Now you let me look at it from the eyes of a child learning that the world contains that insanity so cruel and pointlessly evil it can make even your father weep. The equally strong message of love. innocence and simple pleasures keep it from being in any way depressing. Really a good poem.

  40. The lasting image of the Catcher in the Rye really added something to the poem as a whole. With themes like dismissing the experience of those that came before, the emotional quality of the poem was off the charts. All of the intensity of the father/son relationship seems almost carnal in the sense of the poem. Wonderful job exploring a subject that so many share. Great read, as always a pleasure to swing through.


  41. What Maureen said. Hard to top that. Great impact, Adam, great memory, if that it was.

  42. I love the way this flows … images overlapping as i think of impressions in my memory some words invoke ..

  43. Extremely emotive love the imagery and the bit where you found poetry through Dr Suess in amongst the horribleness of it all there is the innocence of the boy who is learning about the harsh realisties of life. Very poignant. I’ve posted up some haiku and a poem on mine :O)

  44. What a great verse and powerful imagry. I enjoyed it. Your words like “Fuzzy dreams like Gypsy Moth fleece
    Chalk outlines, blood on each street”
    were great….

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay

  45. This is a strong memory that you have captured in your beautiful words….a Dad’s tears leave a lasting mark of strength of the heart and soul. A lovely poem Adam! 🙂

  46. that was an amazing write…you had so much going on in there that i had to read it again a second time to enjoy its fullness…good and bad memories blurred into a marvelous piece…well done my friend

  47. Childhood memories…with powerful images…speaking of joys and pains…Such a strong piece…

    certainity of the uncertainity

  48. Nice write, Adam! Filled with great images and powerful emotions.

  49. loved this so much
    and your voice made it even better

  50. I just saw my dad crying once..after his mom died..they bonded so best friends and was a total heartbreak for me.always thought men should be able to cry at times,but when i saw it happening ..i knew why they don’t do much often as is more powerful then anything else..their vulnerability can break steel at that moment..never saw anything as pure again..i felt your words,and as usual Adam you touch the right chords splendidly..:)
    Tight hugs mate!

  51. I love the flow of this. The rhythm. Its musical. Kind of HipHop. I love poetry that I can feel. This is a study in Ideal form for me.

  52. Powerful. Just loved this. You took a sad subject, treated it with respect, and left me sighing in the pleasure of it, though it brought tears to my eyes. “fuzzy dreams like gypsy moth fleas” great image there.

  53. Amazing images you portrayed. Really painted a 5 year old well. Very touching poem!

  54. “growing up scared of snakes and eve’ <~ really liked this & loved the entire memory…

  55. great memories shared through a very powerful and evocative poem. Love the rhythm and flow.

    Thanks for visiting my place, your comments are highly appreciated.


  56. Amazing poetry, Adam. You really make the reader a part of the experience. Victoria

  57. Came back… to read again…

  58. Incredible. Loved it…the Dr. Seuss to the John Lennon.

  59. Oh, Farewell is something that comes very greivous and in a surprise.
    always comes in simple and quiet moment. that’s why it hurts. And you wrote it down, amazing lines that captured the extreme of sadness.

    a stunning one shot. thanks for sharing


  60. betweenhearts75 Says:

    You got a lot of us teary-eyed Adam/love Dr. Seuss and the legendary John Lennon…very very well done, as always your words amaze me, so strong…~April 🙂

  61. This reads like a song, Adam. Reminds me of Bruce Springstein and “My Hometown” a bit. I like the images it created in my mind and really made me think of my own Dad when I was young.

  62. Its raw emotions of a child out there and to be able to bring out that vulnerablity of a child at this stage in life is really something

  63. Your memories touched my heart. i am also so excited that I caught the Beatle reference on my own (before reading the comments.) Your poems are tightly packed with so many different themes (which always impresses me, btw) that I miss a lot of it until I read the comments. I really enjoyed this one. Thanks!

  64. This made me think of the song “American Pie” and when the music died. I like the way your poem starts with the sort nursery rhyme rhythm and progresses / matures into a broader more observational view, like going beyond one’s self.

  65. Anita Wakeham Says:

    A wonderful poem of childhood memories with your dad, very profound. I only saw my dad cry once, that was after my brother died in a motorbike accident, now he is in a care home in the severe stages of dementia, a poignant write, beautifully expressed.


  66. Awesome.
    Memories can fuel some fantastic poetry.

  67. Oh Adam, I think this is one of your best poems. Nothing wasted here, all images that carry the reader through your childhood and a time, a place, a period in our history. Using personal treasures of memory, you touch something we all share, making me smile all the while that DR Zeuss inspired our tired little brains to write such strains and no poet complains when you mention his name, the man who turned green snow and pinkish glow, and piles of hats into cultural splats on English class pages. The fireflys, the lights, the city din, your father’s tears, your childhood fears and Lennon’s tragic end. It was stunning and as you can see, inspired me to write. Thank you!

  68. Powerful poem and great photo.

  69. Yes, be scared, very scared of us Eve types. 🙂

    This poem is one of my favorites ever, blows me away. Amazing how it moves from gentle child-like dreams to John Lennon’s death and a crying father.

    Well done!!


  70. great portrait here! your words, as always, ring true with beauty.

  71. What a fantastic poem – very moving. Love the perspective from the child.

  72. Wow, very intense verbal snapshots of life.

  73. Adam! thats so good, love the “read” great idea to hear you… This Philly boy says “sweet”… Thank you.

  74. Interesting visual impressions going on here Adam –
    Fuzzy dreams like Gypsy Moth fleece
    Chalk outlines, blood on each street……
    these are like flickering images shown one after another on a slide show! Very effective indeed:-)

  75. very evocative! Great to hear it read.

  76. Ben Miller Says:

    Words so well painted and pointed at giving the feelings of being in that car as it rushed along.You don’t so much describe as evoke, which is no small feat. But, what’s most effective is you brought back my own memories of that horrible night.

  77. i remember reading this the first time…loved it then..still love it…have a safe trip and lots of hugs please…all the best pete

  78. Love how your memories are filled with so much emotion !
    Great write Brian !

  79. We never saw an apple tree
    No strawberry fields
    Couldn’t sleep counting sheep
    Growing up scared of snakes and eve

    Fantastic analogies Adam. It’s hard to think of Adam being afraid of Eve…where would we be today. I remember too well the day Lennon was taken from us and you have painted it sensitively into the landscape. Beautifully done!

  80. Not a dream town for you then… ?

  81. One could not read this without a tightening around the heart. What a memory – it’s part of history..

  82. I can remember pulling out my grandfather’s drive when the announcement came over the radio. Sitting in the back seat seeing my parents react will be a moment I’ll never forget. Believe it or not, I remember that we skipped the drive-in movie that week…Amazing how one can touch so many…such is the power of the poet, and your words have touched us all as you honor such an amazing human, who sincerely practiced being human.

  83. “Imagine plays to fireflies” …that line got me for some reason..perhaps the recall of watching it on the big screen, how senseless the death of a man who just wished peace. It has all been said above, but truly a moving, beautiful piece..nicely read, too ~peace,

  84. Oh yes I remember this one…a great write…Have a great time….One Stop Rocks….best to all…bkm

  85. moondustwriter Says:

    I remember the first time I read this Adam – more of a delight as I get to know you

    See you in NYC

  86. dang dude this is taught with emotion…all the memories leading up to the hardest one of all…

    on another note, cant wait to meet you here…so awesome tonight…

  87. love it love it Dustus. enjoy yourself. All the best

  88. Sensitivity with guts! A powerful blend! A beautifully written poem!

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