Jerry Tuckman, (Still) Standing O: Silent Sentinel Series 1

55” high x 16” wide x 2.5” deep. Approximate weight: 175 lbs.

I am 76 years old and retired and have been writing poetry since I was 9 years old (that’s quite a few years). I did my first welding (found steel objects) at Snow Farm five years ago and after a number of years networked my way, through Ann Jon and Sculpture Now, to wonderful, accomplished sculptor, Peter Barrett (whose work is also featured in this show). I have assisted Peter in small ways (grinding, steel mesh work) and he, in turn, has allowed me to do my own work (with his assistance). I find all of the work contemplative and creatively satisfying.

“(Still) Standing O” is dedicated to my dear friend, Orlando Bagwell, former tennis doubles partner and co-8th grade girl’s basketball coach and, by the way, prize-winning documentary film maker. I always write one or more poems (works of art provide and produce multiple interpretations) to accompany the idea or physical reality of my sculptures. Below are two related to this work.

Jerry Tuckman was born in 1946 in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York. When your “borough” (Brooklyn) is larger than many major cities in your country you always include your neighborhood. Next neighborhood was Flatbush then finished grade and high schools in Lynbrook (Long Island), New York. Bounced around four colleges and finished up at Columbia University in 1970 after working in the Martin Luther King Poor Peoples’ Campaign in Washington DC (“Resurrection City”) and the Eugene McCarthy Presidential Campaign in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Tuckman’s pecuniary working career was with planning and anti-poverty government agencies, universities and non-profits. He was a founding Board Member of the Massachusetts Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) and founded/created the Cooperative Housing Task Force and the first Massachusetts statewide organization of community development corporations. His volunteer work was with LeadBoston, Roxbury Community College, WGBH (PBS) Community Advisory Board, Rwanda Youth Healing Center (U.S. Advisory Board) and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. He is also currently an elected Town Meeting Member in the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts. While working at Tufts University, Tuckman had the privilege of spending a few days with Paul Rusesabegina (the real proprietor of the ‘Hotel Rwanda’, think Don Cheadle”) and his wife, Tatiana, when Paul lectured on morality and genocide.

Currently retired he lives equally in Brookline (Boston) & Otis (Southern Berkshires) MA. He lives with his (wonderfully supportive) wife and has two daughters, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and three enchanting grandchildren.

Find Jerry on Facebook and Instagram.

(Still) Standing O

A Sculpture Built and Poem

Both Dedicated to My Dear Friend, Orlando Bagwell

We walk the sculpture park
With your daughter and grandson,
You, standing tall . . .

As you did behind the camera,
on the tennis court
behind the lectern.

coaching the teen girls
When they’d enter the bathrooms at break
Seemingly never to come out.

Dear friend of many years,
Near or far, one coast or the other,

Unbowed, your look no less intense.
Always a faraway look.
I never knew where it landed.
Now it’s destination even further afield.

It was on the tennis court
We most related,
Easily forward and back,
Side to side,
gliding across seamlessly.

I know where I am to go
But can no longer get there
Or meet the ball to find it’s proper home.

And you are not sure where you are
Or when you are
or who you are
Or what to do with a racquet in your hand.

We are still standing, you and I,
Each shaking in his own way,
A few years past our primes
And yet, a million times removed.

We have proven what we will over past years
As we pondered
The great questions of the day.

It is another day.
We still have more to do or say.
Now there are more questions than answers.
It was so nice to see you,
Whoever you now are,
So much now locked away. . .
A different kind of silence.
It seems the hard drive of your being,
My dear friend hijacked
Without a way to ransom.

I remain,
my memory intact . . .

I will always remember you,
Eyes so very focused,
Pummeling the fuzzy yellow ball . . .

(Still) Standing O – Totem

Standing tall,
Of a life
What I would
For one last conversation.

You are so still
Same angry stare.
My heart breaks.
There is less and less
Of you there.