Piano Man’s Heavenly Waltz

The cards are up, the dance is done
A silent breath carries upon it a soul for the masses
As ashes fly wildly, they cannot ride the gusts and return slowly below

In this goodbye, as so many before
The dance partners collect amongst the heavens
To show the newcomer an eternal tune with which the waltz can begin

Though expected and the experience familiar
An inner, involuntary sense of abandonment stings as harshly as the first
Your heels kick upon the cloudy dance floor, cotton tufts drift as snow
Souvenirs bouncing upon the living with ash as cargo

This snow fall on such a summer day is a gentle embrace with a dusty trail
One day my dance care will fill no more, my stay in this centuries-old hall complete
Humbly, I will wait to twist wildly amongst the golden tops of clouds to my own eternal song
Yet guided once more by old familiar leads

—-

In loving memory of Gary, a man who showed loyalty, strength and charisma to his last grain of sand.
I am grateful for the memories and the stories you shared with me and that you had so long after diagnosis to continue bringing heart-warming smiles to all you knew. My words from the post in November, The Piano Man, still ring true – no matter your place above or below the cloudy dance hall.

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The Piano Man

Man Smoking a Cigarette and Playing Piano - "The Piano Man" Poem about Death - Koogimama Ponders

He wanders through the crowd, lining the bar with a tall loping grace
As the piano man plays a gentle melody, the dying man’s smile dances for each note
With a glance you wouldn’t know his hourglass is almost run out
Though the bar whispers his tale to each newcomer and repeats it over every beer

Over each repetition, gazes cast heavily upon his brow and wait for a sign of sadness
But instead he grins a cocky, sideways grin and waves his hand
A round of drinks to all from the man you can’t turn down
For he has no one else to empty his wallet
And the price of green paper vanishes with one’s last grain of sand

Friends from long ago and friends made in the dim evening light
Sit around and laugh on their old leather stools, cracking and squeaking yet sturdy as ever

As the door opens, waves of fresh air cut through and shift the smoky atmosphere
With the movement, he lights another cigarette
May as well enjoy the beautiful ember betwixt fingertips;
The stench of bitter joy and guilty habits rolled within the tobacco’s leaves
Is that much sweeter when it’s deaths calling card
Burning into the night’s thick air with a smile

A Toast to the Dying Man who Spends His Last Days in a Welcoming Home - Poem by Koogimama Ponders

Gary

For a man of gentle smiles, vivacious laughter and humble actions – I do not know you well but I know you enough to say I will miss you when you leave, as will all those who’ve shared a night of stories and friendship with you.
The first time I met you, you and Ol’ Miller played bodyguards for me, the silly little girl at the bar who felt ten feet taller with each beer. I’d almost forgotten to be honest, because you were so quiet. But best friends of old, you stood there with Miller to provide quiet strength and protection should any other bar guests try to pursue conversation with me. It’s kind of funny to think about, that you didn’t know me but the day you met me were put in charge of my wellbeing. I appreciated it then and I still do today.
You say you’ve lived your life and though I’ve only known you for your last year (according to doctors and whatnot), I’d say you’ve still got life to live until your dying breath. You still have time, words to speak, experiences to revisit and friends to share a few more drinks with.

I hope the doctor is wrong and that you continue to visit and tell stories, sitting in the smokey bar. I hope, for Ol’ Miller’s sake that you go out kicking and that you remind him to keep going, as a best friend, as a strong man, and as a believer that every day still matters.

If I don’t see you before you go, a toast to good health for irony’s sake and one last smoke to embrace the chariot that carries you swiftly away. 

Do you sing? Or play piano? I can’t say for sure but this song always makes me think of you.  Piano Man by Billy Joel on YouTube

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