Tell It All

When you’re writing the epitaph
make sure to tell about the broke down trucks,
the cabin on the creek with the blown off roof,
the cobblestone curb on the lower Eastside
where we found two junkies crying,
remembering how they once had been
we bought them both a slice.
The dogs and the pups you loved,
the way the kids smelled in their sleep
and my hand all wrapped in a sock
after I caught it in the saw
building that house on the Cane.
Morning sun on the rimrock,
the laughter of the canning room,
walking in the deep woods
and the way we broke our hearts.
You should mention how I let you down
but we stayed together,
how the weight bent us double
yet we didn’t break.
Maybe the crazed look in Bob’s eyes
or the viking with his drywall trowel;
the little cabin in the islands,
and the woman who taught me kindness.
Tell it like it wasn’t –
cowboying in Argentina,
rescuing ships at sea
and how we laugh
when the truth doesn’t matter.
Forget what you don’t like
but be sure to mention the redhead
with her Irish potatoes,
old Henry who worked us to shame
and how we gave them hell.
Tell it brother. Tell it all.



Linda and Don on Waldron


27 Responses to “Tell It All”

  1. eleanor Gill Milner says:

    One of my favorites here, Don. Condensed memories that only a poet can paint with such brushstrokes.

  2. Terry Marsden says:

    I can relate all too well love ya brother. Memories, what a trip of many colors .

  3. Norm Smookler says:

    Happy Birthday, Don! Inspiring flow to this poem. Thanks!

  4. Ron Silver says:

    How wisely you show what’s important and needs to be remembered, and what to let go of.

  5. maria says:

    So glad you made it through this and more. You enrich us all with the framing and the telling of your story. Happy Birthday to one who honours the small and lives big.

  6. Jim Ehmke says:

    Right, tell it like it is, brother.

  7. John Albright says:

    I love it. Life as it is. You sure do make me smile

    Happiest of Birthdays to you.

  8. Ted Black says:

    Very moving, Don. Thank you for this.

  9. Marco says:

    sometimes I think you live inside me.

  10. lfj gill says:

    Ah, the benign violence of poetry. Takes one there whether ready to go or not.

  11. Robin Bryant says:

    Taking a look, sure makes one even more excited about this ‘now’. Thank you Don for birthing forever new wqys to look at Life. It is such a delight to be present .. remembering .. and not knowing what’s next. What a gift Life IS!

  12. I like that this invokes in me my own sweet and bitter memories, the spices of my life. In agreement with Marco, as good poetry invites what lives in all of us to come forth and be recognized.

  13. Anne says:

    Wow Don! This was a motion picture, no, a ballad. This could be set to music I think. Quite the piece Birthday Man! Thank you once more.

  14. David Banner says:

    Beautiful, my friend….and I recognize some of the actors in this drama!(smile) Such richness and love in this piece…..

  15. Ken harris says:

    Sounds like you have nough material here for a good novel! Happy Now dear Don. I will never forget working as your helper on Bill’s house in green pastures! Donna Bahan rest her soul did not like the color of paint she picked out and when she asked us to do over your response was ,No problem ! Ken get the brushes!!!

  16. Paul Blythe says:

    Happy Birthday, Don,
    Thanks for inspiring me to keep going with my blog-posts. I is great to have lived through so many moments where resilience is necessary. There is always a sunrise over the rim-rock and sunsets over the gulf here. We can share these with compassion and warmth in our hearts for the tender moments.

  17. Kim says:

    Happy Birthday to the memories, long and short, happy and sad, bought, rented and longed for. Thank you for staying on your path and inviting all of us along.

  18. Embracing it all just as it richly comes, the good and the bad, a life well lived…glad to celebrate your special life with you today! HBD!

  19. mark dellamano says:

    Lovely piece. Bursting with life in all its dimensions. A great remembrance for the anniversary of one coming into the world. Hope the day reflects all the wonder of the poem.

  20. Tom Walsh says:

    Thanks for moving my heart brother.

  21. Catherine says:

    It leaves one reminded of life’s epiphanies and of our downfalls along the way, which is all part of the journey.

  22. Eilish says:

    Dad, it was hard for me to read this poem, cause my eyes were all blurry with tears. I’m gunning for at least another 20yrs of writing from you! Beautiful words dad.

  23. Tom Wilson says:

    As number 23 responder, I have to say you rocked the stands with this one. People think of good times and bad times, but it’s all human times, and thus the no regrets tone of the poem. Put me in, coach, to the greatest show on dirt. Beautiful poem.

  24. keith fairmont says:

    Tell It Like It Is just came through loud and clear, making direct connection to the soul. And the truth coming through the above comments moves me as well. How wonderful that your voice is coming through so loud and clear as you walk us through the beautiful garden and into the dense forest, only to find home everywhere.
    Happy Birthday Don. You are a blessed man!! Celebrate!!

  25. Maria Jimenez Frid says:

    With tears in my eyes and a full heart, I give thanks for all the footsteps in my life! Your awesome poem speaks to all who know the wonder of a full life without judgmental assertions. Thank you!

  26. Athena Coleman says:

    Wow, what a gift to all of us. Thank you for reminding me that all the colors/words of life’s palate deserve a witness. And it is a privilege to see that recognized with honesty and love, as in this poem.

  27. Pichay says:

    I did try to tell it like it is a moment ago…but failed to post. Too much of how it ain’t, I reckon. My life is in a season of ice calving now, but “how it is” …is here today, gone tomorrow, every peck going downstream, returning to the ocean of One.

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