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A Poem for Tom

Hi all,

I’m remembering Tom fondly, and how my father and I used to listen to the show together every Saturday morning. Here’s a poem I wrote in Tom’s memory.


Elegy for a Belly Laugh - for Tom Magliozzi

Yesterday a friend who’s known me longer
than I’ve known myself looked across
the wilderness of a dinner table into
the frown blossoming on my forehead & asked
do you make enough time to laugh?

I thought of course… maybe… no… felt
the frown spill into my cheeks & settle
into a blush as I remembered lately
how heavy it is to be a person in the world.

Listen – I have never been one for much laughter.
I am not the vessel cheer chooses when fording
rivers. Like my father, my heart’s demeanor flutters
between sour apple & daytime drizzle. Between his
cognitive therapy & my flirtation with antidepressants,
2001 will always be the year of smiles on stilts.

If medicine was the scaffold to happiness, laughter
was the horizon we aspired to. Saturdays over
pancakes we found it together, kitchen radio blaring
banter from a duet of goofball geniuses crooning
cheer into the solemnness of being, giving advice on
cars, car repair, an-duhhh the delicate engineering of
relating to spouses, mothers-in-law, & all breeds
of mechanic. & though Ray came with the real
comedic heat, it was Tom we needed, his great
chuckles charging the gates of us
like martyrs in a rebellion.

We who struggle to laugh seek those who don’t. When
my father & I could barely muster a chuckle, when sadness
shrank our smiles into weak smirks, a voice on the radio
helped us with the heavy lifting, gave us lengths of rope
we’d need to swing back to happier plateaus, helped
float the raft to carry us through to the next time
our lips cracked with teeth & our mouths bloomed two
meadows screaming white with daisies.

Today my father & I smile easier, though are we not forever prone
to hunched shoulders & deep sighs that pass unnoticed? Are we not
counting down to the next solemn bell welcoming a wallowing week?
I feel it now, in the belly of maybes that it is to be 25 & trying to live
with purpose. I feel it in the devious creep of winter coming to pull
the sunlight away until a warmer season.

So to the friend across the dinner table, thank you. To the memory
of a joyful voice, thank you. To the hours of belly laughter I will
play again often, thank you – for the persistent reminder that
laughter is not the cure, but it makes the disease easier.

- Sam Gordon

Well said, Sam! You have a bright future as a writer. :wink: