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June 07, 2016


There are many ways to mourn the dead. Some people drown themselves with alcohol, some cry for weeks on end, some cry for months on end. Personally, I like to write poetry because I’m a sensitive guy. So, when my beloved grandfather passed away, I wrote my feelings into a very personal poem. I even read the thing at his funeral. The only problem is people keep telling me the poem seems like it’s about a fart.

So for the last time, let me set the record straight – it’s not about a fart! Who writes poetry about farts? No one. And if they did, would they read it at their grandfather’s funeral? No way, Jose. Unless, maybe, their grandfather was, like, really into farts. Mine was not, rest his soul.

Now, granted, there are some lines in the poem that, taken by themselves, may sound like they’re describing flatulence. For instance, a lot of people have questioned the line “I can still hear your rumply noise; I can still smell your Brown Scent”. I can maybe, maybe see how that could give off a whiff of fart, but it’s all about context. Allow me to enlighten you. The rumply noise refers to my grandfather’s loud snoring. I always remember him falling asleep in his chair, sending that sound rumpling right out of his nose. And the Brown Scent? That’s his cologne. We’d always give him a new bottle every year for Christmas. Kind of has a woodsy smell to it. Keep in mind, I read this to a room full of people who were very familiar with my grandfather. They should have known these things about him.

Guess not.

I wish I could say that was the only stanza of my poem that escaped scrutiny, but, regrettably, it was not. I caught a lot of flack for “Sometimes loud and embarrassing, sometimes gentle and relieving”. While, yes, these are qualities that can be attributed to a fart in certain cases, there is an array of other things to which they can apply. Say, I don’t know…my grandfather!

And I thought that “You hang thick in the air, and I gasp for breath” was a beautiful metaphor for the inescapable nature of my grandfather’s memory. But it looks like everyone else just has a one-track mind, and on that track is the toot train.

I suppose it didn’t help any that the title of the poem is “An Ode to an Old Fart”, but that’s what we called him! We were always like, “Hey, Old Fart, how’s it going?” or “Watch out for all those moving cars, Old Fart!” or “I’m sorry, honey, Old Fart has passed away”.

And I guess I shouldn’t have written the poem right after eating three bean burritos. There could be a chance that the consequent indigestion may have influenced my writing in some subconscious way. But on second thought, no. I don’t even think that was a factor. I wrote what I wrote to honor Old Fart. My diction was deliberate, and I like to think he’s up there somewhere looking through a cloud with a smile on his face. Every time I feel a warm wind on my face, I imagine it’s his presence. His memory is always with me. As I say in the poem, “You’re here with me until your vapor disappears”.

So there it is. Case closed. File this one under “Poems That Are Definitely Not About Farts”