The Thing Is (six years later)

The Thing Is

Ellen Bass

The thing is
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs:
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes I will take you
I will love you, again.

The Answering Machine (five years later)

The Answering Machine


I call and hear your voiceHoward Family
on the answering machine
weeks after your death,
a fledgling ghost still longing
for human messages.

Shall I leave one, telling
how the fabric of our lives
has been ripped before
but that this sudden tear will not
be mended soon or easily?

In your emptying house, othersSam and Veronica
roll up rugs, pack books,
drink coffee at your antique table,
and listen to messages left
on a machine haunted

by the timbre of your voice,
more palpable than photographs
or fingerprints. On this first day
of this first fall without you,
ashamed and resisting

but compelled, I dial again
the number I know by heart,
thankful in a diminished world
for the accidental mercy of machines,
then listen and hang up.DSCN3064small

Robert’s Birthday

From Crazy Robert’s World of Fun – celebrating our third year in the beautiful Cloverdale Terrace subdivision:



After 60 years of quality anti-submarine warfare for the peopleof Mountain View, Moffett Field is closing its doors forever!


We’re blowing it up out to the bare walls for one day and one day only! Nothing will be spared! Just pennies on the dollar!

Bring your checkbook! Or just something to barbeque (BYOM)! Come to Crazy Robert’s Sale HQ, Airshow, and BBQ at Emily Drive in Mountain View, on 17 October, 1200-2200 hours – come early for best selection!

Or shop by phone: RSVP’s are welcomed, call 415-967-1686 (secure line).

Bring the whole family!

International arms merchants welcome! We offer favorable conversion rates!

Free surveillance ballons for the kids! (limited to stock on hand)
No rainchecks will be honored.
All sales final.

Getting there is easy! Just hand this chart to your NAVCOM!

Check out these authentic WW II/Cold War artifacts:

  • P-3 Orions – some in original box!
  • Nuclear torpedoes – expand your sphere of influence – make new friends!
  • Hangars – great for projects: factory warranty!
  • Runways – cash and carry – be the first on your block!
  • Sonobuoys! Sonobuoys! Sonobuoys!
  • The Blue Angels – Clean! Low miles! See ’em in action!

No reasonable offer refused!
Everything is out on the apron for your inspection. Find what you need, then come make your best deal!

From Robert, 1992. Happy Birthday, Robert. We love and miss you.