Posts Tagged ‘family’


Uncle Frank, Chichester, New Hampshire © Jim Korpi

To witness the tears of a grown man is like seeing a nocturnal bird of prey in daylight, someone forced it into a world it has evolved to avoid.
One of the earliest memories I have of life on the farm in New Hampshire was the first evening we drove up the long driveway. The warm yellow light from life in the kitchen spilled onto the wood porch, poured into the lawn and was a beacon in the blue dusk.
The grandfather, I was to know as Dubba, and his oldest son, Uncle Frank, sat in chairs by the wood-fired cook stove with guitars resting on their laps. They were cheerful and loose with words. “My ding-a-ling, your ding-a-ling, won’t you play with my ding-a-ling,” Uncle Frank bellowed and strummed.
A year ago my younger brother celebrated his marriage at the old farmhouse. It was the first time most of the family had been back on the property since we left it.
The wedding ceremony finished and guests filed into the old barn for the next stage of the event.
Uncle Frank walked with his drink to the western edge of what was once the farmhouse garden but was now a manicured ornamental bush bordering the wedding altar.
“I fuckin’ miss this place,” he said softly after I sat beside him. We sat quiet. I agreed without words. I somehow missed it too. A tear made its way from the sadness of his eyes down his nose. I made this portrait of him.
Uncle Frank died one week ago. His funeral is today. I am an ocean away, but here I am remembering him.

Declared Preference

Empty Swings, New Orleans © Jim Korpi

“Fuck it. It’s a big world,” she claims toward a clear, unresponsive window as if the person beside her would not hear nor care. But she hopes he will.
Words spoken are never erased. They grow scales and slither across the brain.
The world is big, but the space we consume day by day and those devoured by our appetite for the spice of life are finite.
We swing in and out and spread thin our influence. Best of friends are unlimited and families wait patiently in line until they’re needed.

sense of direction

In the Shadows © Jim Korpi

“Turn right here,” brain said. I was surprised to remember the hour-long drive to my aunt’s house and the dead-end suburban street she lives on. Her phone number was still lodged in my mind in case my inner compass failed.
The house had changed since my uncle died, but signs of him, like the ornamental whiskey bottles and double-barreled shotgun, lined the basement walls and filled some innate need for nostalgia.
“You little Peckah head,” Uncle Peter would have said had I walked through the front door without my own supply of drinks to accompany the turkey dinner. A game of spades would ensue in the kitchen where Jesus Christ would be summoned in vain for having some part in a bad hand or because Dubba and Dad talked across the table. Cards aren’t played at Thanksgiving anymore.
Dubba, being the patriarch at the head of the dinner, led us in a quiet and brief prayer before the table took on a frenzied chattering of “pass this” and “pass that.”
Dubba says little since his stroke, but his eyes speak restlessly of thoughts untold.