Neal H. Brodsky
24 Hr. Family
One half Weekend, one day only.
Pick up children at 12 PM.
Drive 42 miles there and back for
and listen to one of your sons
as he carefully counts the road kill
heading north for the three-times-a-month
visit with his new family.
Walk down to stream
Climb 2 rocks
Draw with crayons
Cut potatoes for French fries
Speak in French accents and
Wear homemade chef’s hats
As you serve up a story of Jean and Marie’s English Diner
Where the only thing on the menu is
Chicken fingers with fries.
Eat, smile, fire up the video, watch
Bathe, splash, laughing
screaming pillow fight and game of tag
at 11 PM.
Then sleep ‘til 6
when cat wakes you meowing at the door
followed closely by one
rubbing sleep from his eyes.
Throw clothes in wash
And clean up quick
The paper, crayons, dishes, faces.
Say goodbye to rocks and trees
And talk about the garden you will plant
next week in 24 hours of
blended family time.
AT THE OPTOMETRIST
The eye doctor places
Mickey Mouse ears around
the frightened eight year old face
of my son before charting
his eyes that have known such loss.
The eye doctor says that divorce
puts tremendous strain around the
eye muscles of children
who would rather see a blur
than the pain of losing a father.
I was too amazed to weep
there in the office of the eye doctor
where my son
again and again smashed
the button moving the
electric examination chair
up and down and up and
He along with three-year old accomplice
Jason broke that damn chair
Shorted the damn chair out.
The pain is held in the eyes
of my boys who shoot
blunted daggers through my heart
each time they look at me.
PAPER AND WORDS
When the divorce papers arrive, do not read them.
Fold and place these papers in the pocket of your favorite
plush insides that will
caress your neck.
Drive into the mountains.
Check in to a Center of
where there is no television
and you can hear the wind
Only in the morning don your windbreaker
and climb 200 feet to the top
of a mountain.
Listen to your every step
and walk with great gentleness on the
leaves that have fallen.
Clear the dead branches from a flat rock
at the top of the mountain
Breathe in the rocks,
breathe out the years.
Breathe in the sky,
breath out the angry voices.
Breathe in this ancient place,
you have always known in your heart.
And cry out the single sound of that place.
Only now as you sit at the
top of this new mountain
will you carefully
the papers of divorce
Eat the simple bread you carry.
Drink the water.
Now leave this place.
You will always hold it in your heart.
Walk Slowly Down The Mountain.
ADVICE FOR THE SOON-TO-BE-DIVORCED
The mail will come each day.
Do not open it.
Instead place it into brown paper bags.
Hide bags in closet.
Live your life.
Open your mail another day.
Leave your television in the arms
of your former wife.
You do not need the noise.
Recycle all newspapers before reading.
Listen for the soft sound of birds.
in the evening,
And eat in silence.
Listen to the same music
again and again
Sing with that music.
Hear your own voice.
May you walk again in the world,
feeling your true feet beneath
A Note on The Manual of Divorce , by Neal H. Brodsky
I wrote these poems one by one tracing the year in which my own divorce was completed. You, the reader will find a familiar cast – a wife, a husband, two young children, lawyers and lovers, therapists and friends.
My intention in publishing these poems together as “The Manual of Divorce” is to create an opening for what is possible when we observe and honor the occurrences of life as guides for our own growth. Amid the many things that happen in divorce is an opportunity to re-invent oneself and re-connect with your children.
We create and populate our world with perceptions of heroes and villains. All the while, the still small voice within speaks softly to us of love.
A poem from "The Manual of Divorce" is included in each newsletter from Love Life Counseling which you can subscribe to free of charge.
To find out how you can buy the Manual, e-mail Neal at [email protected]
Expected publication date is June 2015.