Top Hat Eulogy

The Top Hat Eulogy

I woke up and looked outside-
my grandfather stood in the garden
in the form form of Yoda
surrounded by a force field

I opened the doors
the roses were full
and pungent
and made me breathe in fistfuls

I knew that was my Papa
as he wore the familiar collapsible black top hat
the one with his initials inside

The day was pallidly overcast
but a great light shone upon him
and his voice kept repeating

“Shalom Aleichem – Hare Krishna”.

And when he spoke
golden nuggets would drop from his lips
as people hurried by and grabbed them

The masses left Mardi Gras beads at his feet
while he blessed them using galvanized quatrains
and the “sick among them were healed” —
one man in a wheelchair was given an
application for Dancing With The Stars
the hordes looking stunned as he jumped up
and did a Saint Vitus dance off

So I asked a passing titmouse-
What does my grandfather say?”
And his tuft relaxed as he chirped
he gives them great hope”

And I wanted this hope and to speak
to my Papa
who has been silently absent
for almost twenty years
so I slowly took my place in the back of the line
hoping he would recognize me
hoping to touch his hand once more
to smell Old Spice and see his smile
but the line kept growing
and people kept cutting in
and I could not progress forward

I ran
and ran
to the front of the crowd
and pushed my way through
but all that sat there was the top hat
atop golden nuggets
and everyone grabbed the nuggets
and I took the top hat and bushed it off
and hugged it as a voice
I recognized as my Papa’s
came from inside the hat
“my darling, this is why you will never be rich,
the others go for the gold and
you stand behind and hold an old, useless hat”

the hat burst into flames
but did not burn me –
it grew wings and flew off into a blackened night

I watched the flaming hat circle the lake
then passed over the crescent moon
where it perched at the lowest moon tip
illuminating the sky

The small titmouse came by and landed on my shoulder
pointing a wing toward the door
you must close your eyes, spit three times and run backwards for ten feet” it said
and I did
but when I opened my eyes I was back under my electric blanket
while the sun rudely woke me by casting laser beams
into my face —
I got up to feed the cats and the birds
and when I went outside
the garden was empty

the flowers looked sad
the rose petals had all fallen off
leaving bald and bent stems-
No Papa –
no golden nuggets

when I heard a titmouse singing from
the grapefruit tree
gulliblegulliblegullible” it chirped-
I threw a rotten grapefruit at it
and the bird flew overhead
leaving a white sticky calling card
dripping off my shoulder

The answer had been revealed
go for the gold
I thought to myself over and over
wondering how to do that
and all that ‘over’ made me overload
and over tire
and over think

I reached for my Papa’s top hat in the closet
and climbed back into bed
under the electric blanket
Putting the hat upon my head

When I woke again
the hat was on the floor
screaming obscenities like a mean drunk –
it struggled to right itself
like flailing turtle upside down on its’ shell

And that was where I left it screaming
as I started my quest for the gold
beginning at the refrigerator
opening the door rather timidly asking
in a voice rather unlike my own
that came out kind of ‘Brooklyn-esqe’
did it know where the ‘gould’ was

there was a profound silence–
the milk soured
the cheese curdled
and a bottle of Guldens mustard popped off the shelf
and wrote my eulogy in dirty yellow…

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