Poem: Blue Bottles in The Light

Blue Bottles in the Light

The blue bottles are in the window.
The light makes them impossible to ignore.
Bright. Vibrant.

There are other bottles here in the old shop.
Every historic color is represented,
greens, browns, amber.

But it is the blue that draws your eye
and all the moods blue sings,
Beale Street, Mood Indigo,

your father’s songs
that have become,
over time, yours.

He was a depressed man. We all thought so.
He denied it, but at night, the blues mixed with the bourbon
And we saw the sad dark truth.

My father passed so much on to me. A love of antiques,
Wanderlust. Fine bourbon. An appreciation for old time blues.
An ability to see what is not yet there

And the steps to make it so.

I also inherited his depression.
For all his late night drinking, I fell further,
losing myself in the darkness for years

and I learned something he never did:
that there are paths out. That work,
that same work ethic he bred into me

is more effective than amber liquids and ice
in the reclamation of joy, and that now
you can look at the blue bottles, sunlit and vibrant

and see, not the demons, but their simple beauty,
and hear your father’s music
with a small smile on your face.

About this poem

My father was an alcoholic, with all that implies. But it does not come close to defining him. He was also generous, talented, a raconteur, a lover of blues and Dixieland jazz, an incredibly skilled master of restoration and a hundred other skills and talents, many of which passed down to me.

I long ago learned to love through the alcoholism and depression. Not to ignore them, but to understand that like most of us, he had a wide range of demons and angels in his life, and like all of us, he was worthy of love.

Tom

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