I Love You, Joe Temeczko, a poem

illustration i love you joe temeczko liberty world trade


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2001, 12:00 AM

Joe Tomeczko was a little old man who often carried around a paper bag, took buses everywhere and tried to earn a few bucks by doing odd jobs for neighbors and friends. But another side of the 86-year-old Polish immigrant was discovered after he died in Minneapolis on Oct. 14 and left nearly $1 million to the City of New York. “He wanted to somehow honor the victims of the World Trade Center disaster,” said his attorney, William Wangensteen, who helped Tomeczko change his will after Sept. 11. “He felt a real kinship for the whole city and was very saddened by what happened,”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/minn-man-leaves-n-y-1m-article-1.926202#ixzz2Vxy7hEYV


I Love You, Joe Temeczko

I am sorry you died with your heart broken,

but you were on the way to mending it in your

usual fashion, doggedly, with persistence,

never giving up, no matter how hard and dry


the bones they gave you to gnaw on,

your only nourishment.  I love you for that,

and for your dapper air, your ascots,

the beautiful women in your embrace,


before you lost it all, and came to America.

The war drove you from your Polish home,

to this shore, under the gaze of that beautiful,

but blank-eyed lady, the statue in the poster


next to your bed, where you slept with dreams,

and nightmares, even children can comprehend.

You felt this country’s warm embrace, you said,

and so made yourself at home here, a peddler


at heart, selling, selling useful things to everyone

you met.  A chandelier to your lawyer, soap to your

grocer, tools and services to neighbors.  But your greatest

service you gave away for free.  “I learned a lot about


persistence from him,” says the man next door, the one

you trusted to handle what was done with your small,

strong body and your possessions after you died.  Joe,

my friend, my teacher, generous and demanding, no one


you touched or didn’t touch is unmoved by your spirit.

You expected the best from people, and in the end

that’s exactly what you received.  Yes, once again

you’ve beat me up the stairs, but I am following


close behind.  My dear, dead darling,

accept this small kiss from these unworthy lips of mine,

gently, and wherever you are, or aren’t, know

how much I love you, and always will.

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