On the Way to WorkRichard Soberpaintings

Red Clay

This is the city where no response came and none was heard in the cool autumn light of Sunday morning streets. No father or brother there to help vitalize these moments. One was left to oneself. A whole world more real than the one in front of one’s eyes. Wharves, factories, mills, long sunk into oblivion, converted into condominiums and amusement parks for the children and grandchildren of workers whose first language was drudgery. The streets are cleaned by early morning sunlight. One of the last times I spoke with my father, when he was still able to speak, it took him an hour to recognize me. He took my hand and kissed it and cried. He was uncomfortable with my questions. So, we sat silently with Wheel of Fortune muted on the huge TV screen dominating the room, everyone else around us dozing in the shabby half-light of an in-between world. My father dozed, too, dozed off releasing my hand. His head relaxed into his shoulder. The linoleum floor wet with his tears inside this dream. Four months later I was counting my father’s last breaths. The red clay on his coffin is still on my boots, like the unanswered questions that filled the room between us.

RS 2008