Free Association, Starting with Black

A Tribute to my Brother Charlie

Dad, Rog, and Charlie; then Mom, Palsy and me

Black      white

chalky      marbly

butterscotch swirl      bowling ball

the sound of a bowling alley      the sound of a powerful waterfall

falling lacy waters      flying insects in the breeze

deep blue sky of summer      deep lead clouds of summer

wet and chill and the smell after summer a thundershower      bees on clover and being careful

grass in toes that gets tracked inside      white carpet of youth

I miss Charlie, who was allergic to bees, tracked the wet grass onto mom’s white carpet, watched waterfalls and insects with me in every sky, had our first independences together backpacking and riding our bikes seven miles to El Camino to bowl; my ten-speed was stolen there. Ice cream back then had swirls in it. Marble was a novelty but chalk was not. Nothing is white or black. Not life, not death. All stories lead to Charlie.

Happy birthday in two hours. You’d be sixty-six; I know, because I’ll be sixty-five this year.

I think of you even when I don’t.

4 thoughts on “Free Association, Starting with Black

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  1. Beautiful Barb and thank you for sharing this tribute to Charlie. I think of him daily but especially today. Sending hugs,


  2. Well done, Barb. You capture the essence of a beautiful series of memories and vivid images of the things we remember. Charlie with a crooked hat, looking in on me with a fastball we both knew was magic in what it could release… Capture, release, improve. Mark Fischer Colbrie and I were talking about Charlie running to work.


    1. Thanks, Rex. It’s great to read your more boyish take. Me and Charlie and insects in the air, you and him and fastballs and all that striving to improve. It’s nice to know you and Mark still think of him, too. We’re all such a big network, aren’t we!


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