I had seen him the Thursday before he died. He had just gotten a hair cut, really close cropped, shorter than in the picture above, all his soft curls gone. I told him he looked like that guy in the Talking Heads. He asked for money and I gave him what I had and as he left I told him I loved him and I believe he said it back as he walked out the door.
Below is a poem he wrote when he was in High School or Middle School. The heading is "Daybreak in Alabama" which is a Langston Hughes poem. I think the assignment must have been to write something in the style of that poem. He got an "A".
The poem is about my family's farm as it had become after my grandfather's death, bleak, unkept, neglected in my eyes, but my son could see the beauty amid the bleakness.
See the barn leaning like it just can't take anymore
Like it has just seen a few too many days.
And you can see the dogs lieing (sic) on the back porch
Trying to escape the hot sun.
Lieing (sic) there exhausted and panting.
Then see everyone inside.
Some are relatives. Some are not.
They sit and talk about feeding chickens and stripping tobacco.
Just another day on the farm.
On the farm you're always welcome
Welcome to come and sit on the broken down couch.
And to watch their old T.V.
The old T.V. that only gets two and a half channels.
But, the real fun is outside.
Outside where you can hear the roosters crowing.
Conversing in some language that you just can't understand.
You can watch the kittens in the barn
Peeping out from behind the old ripped up mattress.
Peeping out like cute, cuddly little soldiers in a foxhole.
Listen to the wind blowing through the trees.
Rattling the loose sheet of metal covering a hole in the old barn.
3:13 AM PT: To those offering sympathy, I thank you. I have to go to work today so will not be able to respond to any particular comments until much later.