“Family Feelings” is a collaborative blend of poetry and play reading that combines the work of this week’s TNB-featured poet John Foy (and others) and playwright A. R. Gurney. “Family Feelings” pays tribute to those relationships we know best, or least! Using scenes from Gurney’s Cocktail Hour – an appeal to gain Father’s approval for the staging of his son’s play – and selected poems by John Foy and others, the performance weaves together poems and script in counterpoint so that, through echoes and associative logic, they get to the psychic truth of unspoken family feelings.

Indian Café, 108th St. and Broadway (NYC), Sunday, January 22, 2012, at 4:00 p.m.

Condolences

By John Foy

Poem

How can I help you with your grief,
though maybe I shouldn’t even try
if truth be told.  There’s no relief
really.  Your mother had to die
someday, and how unfit
a man you’d be if you couldn’t make
believe you were tough enough to take it
and move on, how fake
the higher calculus, being
at peace and all that.  You’ve lost
her now, few care, and nothing
can help, and no one knows the cost
you’ve paid—but everyone knows
we die like dogs in the deep snow.

You’re a busy man. You have a good job, a family, you live in a great city. There must be other ways you could spend your time.  Why bother writing poetry in a time when most people have lost faith in literature and when poetry seems so far removed from what people care about?

I was in an English class at a place called the Englewood School for Boys.  We were reading Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar with our teacher, Malcolm Duffy, and I was struck down by what Brutus said to Cassius before they parted ways toward the end, on the plains of Philippi: “O that a man might know / the end of this day’s business ‘ere it come! / But it sufficeth that the day will end, / and then the end is known.”