JIMMY TIME! (And a Poem for Dad)

I don’t write many poems these days — and no one has complained about that. But lately I’ve been reading a lot of poetry. I’ve been drawn to plain-spoken poems of late, not the dense, compressed, intellectual type I used to favor. Actually, it’s not either/or or neither/nor, it’s everything, arms open wide.

Anyway, I wrote this on a Sunday morning before anyone else awoke.

That’s my new strategy for my 50’s, btw. It used to be that I could outwit, outplay, and outlast everyone. I’d stay up late and it would be: JIMMY TIME!

You know, those few hours when it’s just you and whatever it is you want to do. Eat ice cream, listen to music, watch a late movie, drink bourbon, try on the wife’s shoes, prance around, whatever.

Wait, what?

But nowadays, my rotten kids stay up forever. I can’t outlast ’em anymore. But I find that I’m waking up earlier, in the morning quiet, and love it: THE RETURN OF JIMMY TIME!

So I wrote this little poem. It’s nothing, but I was glad to send it to my mom today. Another thing about my dad: after he died, I grabbed his gray wool, button-down coat. Then I didn’t wear it for about five years, but I’m wearing it this winter and it always keeps me warm. I feel good walking around in it. So that’s my advice, kids: when Daddy kicks, check the closets and grab something, anything, you’ll be glad you did.

As for the poem, I just wrote the thing. Three minutes, done. Weird. Then I tinkered a little a few weeks later, today, but I didn’t want to get too fussy and ruin the thing. (Meanwhile you’re thinking, maybe you should have tinkered a little longer.)

Rescue on the Southern State

I was 19, we’ll call it that,

19 or 22, it doesn’t matter,

but a boy at a certain phase

of eclipse, when my father called

and said his car broke down

off the Southern State, near Mineola.

He needed me

……………………..to come get him.

He gave me directions, and I drove

Out, hoping not to screw it up.

I found him there by the side

of the crowded highway, looking

a little lost, a man out of place,

high and dry. But he knew

I’d make it.

Why that occurs to me after all these

years I don’t know, except that

It’s a quiet morning and I have not

Leaped into activity just yet, sitting

With my coffee, my book, these

Thoughts –- remembering the day

My father called and how I went,

As if it were nothing, as if I would never

give it a second thought.


  1. Mary Lee says:

    No tinkering necessary.

    (and I’m ALL ABOUT the AM “me” time!!)

  2. Liz S. & Sam S. says:

    I have a jacket of my dad’s — I’ve held onto it for over 40 years, and am VERY glad to have it. I really like this, JP.

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