Archive for the ‘West Seattle’ Tag

Coach Turner   10 comments

Pub - Kenne & Ana (1 of 1) blogAna Claudia 

Last weekend, as I stood in front of those attending the celebration of life services for my brother Tom, I couldn’t help but notice the tears on the face of a dark-haired women among those attending. I had not yet met this beautiful women, so I had no idea who she was.

Knowing that some of Tom’s former students would be in attendance, I was not surprised when she came up to me after the service, with tears still in her eyes, and introduced herself — Ana Claudia, one of Tom’s former students. We embraced with the affection of dear friends seeing one another after years of being apart. For Ana, I was channeling Couch Turner, something that is second-nature for me since my brother and I are kindred spirits. We talked, drifting from the present to the past and back, her tears of joy still on her face. 

As we talked and hugged, Ana shared something she had posted on Facebook after the death of Coach Turner:

I don’t often share my feelings on here,
but today I have a good reason to do so.
I’ve often thought about how blessed I am
for having had tough but kind coaches
and mentors throughout my life.
I am grateful beyond words
that good-hearted people took time
to help keep a poor immigrant kid from the hood
on a path towards a positive life
that included the desire to give back or pay it forward.
I know most of you didn’t know him but in honor of him,
I want to say that among all of those good people
none made more of a difference
in my life than this good man — Coach Turner.
He passed away yesterday and now,
here I sit openly weeping still, smiling,
and remembering him not only as a coach,
but also as a mentor, a defender, a family friend, and even a father.
I’ll never forget you Coach Turner. Thank you from my heart.
— Ana Claudia

I have no doubt that her words are shared by so many of his former students. He was a special man who liked using the power of his vocabulary to impress those around him, but for Tom his ability to share his feeling was more powerful the words. Like all of us, he had his demons, but above all, “Bobby”, my little brother, knew the value of caring and sharing.

In the form of a elegy, I share the last two stanzas from Federico Garcia Lorca’s, “A Dream of Life”:

No one knows you. No one. But I sing you — 
sing your profile and your grace, for later on.
The signal ripeness of your mastery.
The way you sought death out, savored its taste.
The sadness just beneath your gay valor.

Not soon, if ever, will Andalusia see
so  towering a man, so venturesome.
I sing his elegance with words that moan
and remember a sad breeze in the olive groves.

— kenne

Coach Turner blogCoach Turner

Tom & Track Students (1 of 1 blog)Turner with some of his track students

 

Capturing The Moment — Easy Street   Leave a comment

Easy Street (1 of 1) blogWest Seattle (January 10, 2015) — Image by kenne

City Psalm by Denise Levertov

The killings continue, each second
pain and misfortune extend themselves
in the genetic chain, injustice is done knowingly, and the air
bears the dust of decayed hopes,
yet breathing those fumes,
walking the thronged
pavements among crippled lives, jackhammers
raging, a parking lot painfully agleam
in the May sun, I have seen
not behind but within, within the
dull grief, blown grit, hideous
concrete facades, another grief, a gleam
as of dew, an abode of mercy,
have heard not behind but within noise a humming that drifted into a quiet smile.
Nothing was changed, all was revealed otherwise;
not that horror was not, not that the killings did
not continue, not that I thought there was to be no more despair,
but that as if transparent all disclosed
an otherness that was blessed, that was bliss.
I saw Paradise in the dust of the street.

My brother Tom always savored this poem by Levertov. He once wrote: “I have always loved this poem . . . I even tore it out of a boo of hers in a book store . . . years ago simply to have it . . . eons before I had a computer!!! SILLY Mr. T.”

. . ., PARADISE IN THE DUST . . .

kenne

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