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Paper Planes and Painting Planets by A.D. Labuschagne

A.D. Labuschagne | Jul 1st, 2021 | poetry | No Comments

Poem

(In Memory of Andre Labuschagne – 13/12/59 – 14/06/21)

Wild eyes
Scared, and alone
Or maybe brave and entering a new world
You did not respond as i called your name

Was mine the last face that you would see
Or were you caught up in the rhapsody
The ecstacy of painting planets
In a universe far away

Our lips met
In a messy goodbye kiss
As i tried to give you the breath in my lungs
Answered by groans and gurgles
As your pulse started to disappear

There was a gurgle with every exhale
You responded faintly to the rhythm
But i could not get your drum to beat again
All i got in return was the spitting, coughing, choking
Splattering on my face like winter rain
Rare enough to seldom encounter
But vivid enough to not forget

I’m sorry dad…

As the ambulance stopped
So did your heart
And your breath faded into grey
Then blue
And so i watched in torment
As the medics did their work on you
Amidst the tubes and bags and shots of adrenaline
I tried to wish my fear away
And find some hope again
But the paper plane was dashed against the rocks
Of cold reality
When the man in charge left you there
To call your family

Finally it was over
The suffering, fear and doubt
And all that was left was emptiness
The all consuming great without
Anticlimactic the story seemed to end just there
And so they covered you as tradition dictated
With the nearest blanket
Packed up their stuff and left

And so i returned to where the war was waged
And ultimately lost
I had to say my last goodbyes
And accept the cast lot
And staring at your shrouded form
I couldn’t resist the curtain call
And drawing back the covering
I gave you one last kiss
As you did when you tucked us in
Back when we were kids
And held your hand
And buried my head
Crying in your chest
Finally dad, you are free
To find eternal rest.

And hopefully in dreamscapes far away
Riding in your paper planes
You are painting planets, as you used to say
And frolicking with electric sheep
Or having tea with Asimov, and Heyer
And any others you might meet
So please send Heinlein my regards
As you sip on your earl grey
And tell gran, and gramps and grandma
We’ll be seeing them someday

But for now us kids will keep the fort
We’ll do our best to look after and care for mom
Your treasure here is safe with us
Until we meet again…
Somewhere, beyond the blue, someday.
And once more i’ll get to say…
Those words i probably never said enough
Although it was daily on my tongue
Dad, i love you
And i am proud to be your son…

Poet Bio

Andre Darius Labuschagne is a poet, musician, and pastor from Johannesburg, South Africa. He is currently involved with various church movements – and his theological and philosophical beliefs are reflected in his poems. A recovering drug addict, his poetry also explores themes of mental illness, substance abuse, finding God, and the process of growing towards completeness.

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