Jeff Bailey finds that writing gives him a foothold to a world that is his and his alone. "Everybody (lucky enough) talks about the 5D, but during Covid-19 I have been courted by the 4D.
For as long as he can recall, Bailey felt that our world was the collective conscience that defined us - meaning "the singularity of his experiences had no relevance to everyday life" but reflection about the trajectory of his life showed him, in his words, "quite literally the opposite to be true" as reflection through writing opened him up to the, again as he puts it,"to the parallelism the past has as he moves forward on his journey."
With a mother who was hypochondraical, a father who was an alcoholic and at the same mother tethered to her bed, Bailey put on one face to the world and yet would grow immeasurably in ways he could not understand until now.
"The idea that our experiences yield wisdom in our writing that maybe is coming from another time in our lives entirely is a central realization to any writer, but is the universality of man. ..that I can tell a story that transcends a space or time but in its new light defying place and time in the past yet still uncannily once the words are put to paper has a divine import that exists in a new dimension of consciouness gives new meaning to timeless. The stories are writing themselves all over again."
Some Good Writ: Christmas, Cancer, Dad, Wine, Sex and Jeff
Between the months of late December 2021 and late May of 2022, my father was hospitalized three times, diagnosed with 2 urinary tract infections and a case of pneumonia- the latter of which in mid-April around my forty-seventh birthday.
What eluded them eludes too many -including the victims themselves. On one occasion prior to one sojourn into one of three hospitals and two rehabs, he tried to stand but in hindsight I could ascertain the extent to which he had fallen ill: he literally got up and screamed in horror falling down as the light post next to him hit him on the head.
It was one of two calls made that day to 911 , the second of which resulted in his having to be hospitalized when the same EMTs came back after that day's first go-around from which he was put back into his blue chair but, alas, out of which he would fall again.
This book is dedicated to my father who may or may not have known the sudden onset -or should I say onslaught - of stage 4 pancreatic cancer was upon him.
The child in me believes, just as he refused to authenticate his sister's diagnosis of ovarian cancer six years prior, he may have known, but even though the adult in me knew if this were his intention, his mind had become so decrepit within that six-month period it is hard to speculate what he did or did not know and when and if, as a result of this encephalopathy of the brain, what he was able to process or fathom and.what he was able to process much less articulate as the ravages of this disease accelerated to the point where he felt uncomfortable not knowing what to do with the old style push-button hand-held phone in his second rehab before we both "officially" would receive the.diagnosis separately the last week of June 2022 when they "found something". A rather benign and naive nurse and yes clueless one,please excuse the sarcasm, said to me " Do you know what this means?"
I truly thought he would live until maybe he died of natural causes given what in 2005 had been pulmonary embolism from Edema, as a result of excessive wine drinking; we went around the bend again in 2015 when for six months he was housebound until he fell ill again - this time to what a neurologist colloquially termed a mini-stroke in the back of his head. Then fast-forward to 2022 and one does not have to because the world that whizzes by us was about to finally come to an end.
He was given days to weeks; the morphine eased his pain into oblivion. He came home 2 days later and had not even been in home hospice for fourty-eight hours and was gone.
He lived and he lived fast in the glamorous world professionally as an employee of a French wine importing company for 18 years and as a salesman for an Italian outfit for 12. Retiring at sixty-two, he wanted out of that lifestyle but not out of life.
That changed when I heard him say, "I just want to die " during his last hospital tour in 2022 ,when unbeknownst to him, I was seared by these words to the point I felt I was gutted of all soul.
I had lived as he did for the better part of my adulthood and spent 43 years of my then-fourty-seven years with him. His passion was wine; the study academic to him: appellations, varietals, terroir - all of it.
These poems, many about cancer, were written contemporaneous to his actual diagnosis and subsequent death. Some were written years prior as if they were of prophetic import - namely a lion's share of the meditations about God, losing battles and many of those in random order defined "Speaks for Itself" - while the latter in "Some Good Writ" thematically have much in common with the prose of its predecessor, many of the "on-the-spot" writings of late Spring/early Summer of 22 bear the markings of the immediacy and urgency of that with which he and I were grappling.
Speaks for Itself: A Commodity of Musings from My Life
For the casual admirer of poetry, Bailey's "Speaks for Itself" is a vitally refreshing piece of work with prose traversing disparate subjects from societal woes to sexual identity to Donald Trump. With humor injected and puns that are punchy and more often than not which eschew rules about meter, Bailey's words offset the gravity of our woes by even writing droll tales of the workplace. There is no experience for which he cannot find the right words - even angst-addled elderly.