Democrat to Republican
Evangelical to Atheist
Conservative to Liberal
(Please forgive my re-post of last year’s poem.)
“Dad’s got cancer.”
Words as lifeless as I felt at that moment.
My sister, Daddy’s baby girl, her voice
shaken from its confidence.
And I in exile deteriorating in my own
self-absorbtion, choking on words so harsh.
And words so healing; a feeling of redemption
in my reply. Wiping an eye or two,
and through with my vitriol; back in control
of the emotions so frayed. Four months
were all that were afforded me. It awarded
me a chance to reconcile for the while he had.
Two Walts contrasted; reunited while Dad lasted.
My father earned a living teaching youth.
He shared with them the music of his core.
He showed them how to honor life and truth,
And gave his time to all who graced his door.
My father is a man to emulate –
A man who holds to ethical ideals.
And even now, though years have slowed his gait,
They haven’t marred the crux of what he feels.
My father’s love is deep; allegiance strong.
His charity continues to abound.
He taught me well to judge what’s right and wrong,
To gather stars, while keeping feet aground.
And so it is I pen this gift through tears –
I thank my God for granting us these years.
My elbows hurt. Years of swinging
a heavy framing hammer takes its toll.
Just like my father, the first thing to go.
To extol the virtues of hard work
hardly works for one bred and raised
into it. A good fit for a blue-collar guy.
Big plans and ideas; a mental diarrhea
that clouds the here and now. How did
I not see it before? Sure, I’m enough
of my own man to matter, and still
enough of my old man to not care.
Where do I draw the line? It is a fine line
at that, and that begins the tale. The travails
of this life, rife with pitfalls and victories
are visited upon the son; the one most like
the man he aspired to be. My shuffle is
more deliberate. My vision waning.
My voice, still strong on paper dissipates
like vapor when I speak. I seek approval
to verify my insecurities. The purity of
thought and deed in need of a boost. No better
place to roost than in his shoes. These blues
sound better with a strong drumbeat; a sweet
syncopation to drive this transformation homeward.
The signs are tell-tale. The change is nearly complete.
I mailed my registration to AARP today.
All for a six-dollar savings on a safe driving course,
to get me a ten percent discount on insurance rates.
I am becoming my Father. My elbows hurt.
You were a leader
Who never let followers
Feel less than partners
Note: Today’s Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides poetry prompt challenged us to write about leaders, followers, or both. How can I hear the word “leader” without thinking of Uncle Jim?
Cool it with the Charles noise,
I’m just one of Ella and Larry’s three boys.
Call me Buddy, everyone does,
I don’t know why; they tell me “Just because”
I found my voice by the age of five,
recorded songs from before I was alive.
Music lived in me; it filled me, obsessed me,
I’d even say that “demon” possessed me.
Along the way they screwed up my name,
yet in their mistake, I found my fame.
Finding my piece of pie in the American Dream,
when I gulped and hiccupped onto the scene.
Rock and Roll was in its early stage,
but I knew it would be the rage,
I assembled a band, that was the ticket,
and with me to lead, we were the Crickets.
Oh Boy, what a time! A thrill of my life,
It’s so easy to get into this life.
The drums were the heartbeat, and I knew what to do,
If you love Rock and Roll, I’m gonna love you too.
It’s great to rave on with these words of love,
Below it was blue days, black nights up above.
But, something touched this brown eyed handsome man.
If you saw her smile, maybe baby, you’d understand.
I found true love ways, in Maria Elena’s smile,
she gave me my heart, it gave me my style.
Love at first sight, I asked “think it over”,
she said “Yes”. I was rolling in clover.
I went on the road, she stayed home expecting,
her sad Spanish eyes were surely reflecting
the raining in her heart, she appeared to be coping,
while she sat by the phone crying, waiting, hoping.
Clearlake was rocking, the music insane,
a late winter storm as we boarded the plane.
“I hope your plane crashes”, Waylon Jennings would say,
In my bright Holly smile I said, “That’ll be the day!”
“And the three men I admire the most,
the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost,
well, they caught the last train for the coast,
the day the music died.” ~ Don McLean (American Pie)
Robert Lee Brewer of The Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides interviewed 2010 Poet Laureate, Walt Wojtanik. I couldn’t be more proud! Way to go, Walt! Click here to read the entire interview.