The Poisoned Ink Well

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Try To Catch a Falling Star

My son’s great grandfather John was a gangster pilot
He was the flying Zetzer of Port Clinton, Ohio.

A very brave Rumrunner
Who once flew the last member

Of Ma Barker’s gang from Ohio to Arkansas
While on the run from J Edgar Hoover.

50 years later in a honkytonk in Hot Springs.
I met his grandson Ric Zetzer
He was 6’1, 24 years old, with long blonde curls.

He was gorgeous and he carried around a guitar
He could sing and play like Buddy Holly.
And he knew the words to every Elvis song.

Ric was like the first sip of beer on a cool keg
And I still Savor that very first taste.

We stayed together for three years.
On the road from Arkansas to California and then Louisiana.

I still miss him

I made the first drive to his hometown, this year
Port Clinton, Ohio.

We went to see Ric’s grave and I had to introduce my son
To a cold piece of marble as his father.

He was the grandson of the grandest old man
Someone who once towered over the sky

Both had brilliant lifetimes like meteors.

Their polished stones are grounded to the earth

John’s has an airplane’s on it.

Eddie and I pushed back the stone on Ric’s grave
and we left our armbands from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
and a picture of Eddie smiling.

We fell in love with a picture of Ric’s father
I never met Robert Zetzer, John’s son
He died before I met Ric.

We named our son after him
Now I have his portrait
And I loose myself inside of his Brown eyes.

I’ve had the most beautiful man in the world
With me for years.

He is my child and theirs, too.

So much a part of them and so like them
He is every bit as handsome and charming as his father.

My son Eddie Robert could melt ice with his gaze.

I didn’t know it was going to happen
Falling stars are like that.

They grant wishes and dazzle you

They make the sun and the moon seem unimportant.

They never leave your memory for your whole lifetime

You only get to see them for a little while

And then they disappear leaving silver traces on the clouds.

A plume of smoke and a bright, bright, bright, light.

Mel Zetzer (for Ric, John, and Robert Zetzer) 2002

I said a while back that I had some of Ric's poetry. Here’s one. He wrote this one in jail.

Trip Through the Lair

I write a million letters
I never get replies
There are few familiar faces
in this little world of lies.

Shadows dim of strangers
And long forgotten fears
Once considered dangerous
over many, many, years.

I'm another screaming metaphor
Running in the night
With Armageddon's door ajar
And God's eternal light.

Silver rings of Purgatory
Set inside a rock
The years blend together differently
My God unplug this clock

A martyr played the odds again
I never won a hand
Now I’m a stationary traveler
In never, never, land

R Zetzer 1960-1994