Wednesday, July 8, 2009

MY FATHER, REVISITED

cloaked
in a loving garb,
having fully realized
the reasons for adulation
single-mindedly succeeded
in redirecting my paths
to approximate a lumbering,
diseased and labored mixture
of blood and bone.
his thick and corpulent flesh
helped repel
a tissue thin, pin shaped,
needle of truth
that insistently jabbed
against his fleshy grain:
as much as he was a lover,
was he a sinner
to those who loved
and trusted him.
he used
their love,
their trust,
in indecent ways
repugnant,
even to himself,
that a balm
of constant consumption,
was one of the few remedies
to rid himself of the disgust
that ate at him as he,
ate at them,
satiated the starkness
of steel.

if he knew then,
that he’d lived,
beyond
matrimonial slavery
and familial idolatry,
he’d have turned Jell-O
into concrete,
ice cream,
into lava
hot from the core
to his gullet,
money,
into bullets,
Cadillac's,
into shotguns,
to effect
an exit
for an audience
of one.
my mother
who,
in her last two
poker playing decades,
knew,
in her heart
of hearts
she needn’t run,
or even walk,
to win
at his own game
of self-serving
whinery.
she knew,
she’d proceed
him, knew,
how much
he’d detest
her coming
in first.
his thoughts
distracted
by the whir
of sickness’
inconsistencies,
unpredictability's,
that needed signatures,
exactness, a chosen,
if not intelligible,
nightmare, harsh
in daylight’s principles,
unforgiving in their erratic pejorative
of moving all
of what they might,
tunelessly,
try to move him.
the nerve of her,
to leave him
so fat and breathy.
the audacity
to just stop
caring
unable to think
beyond her next
minute.
always
so stingy
in the ways
of sex;
always
so unaware
of his needs
beyond
his next feeding
or outburst
of disappointment
of disapproval
in the sounds
of voices
only he could hear
of crass, but soothing,
eastern european inflections,
intimating deep and luxurious
goose down and feathered
armaments.
french toast festooned with churned,
and freshly made,
barrel butter, cinnamon, the dark cloves
and tracks, running down lanes,
with recently tapped
maple syrup, singing,
almost gurgling, in their crevices.
there’d be eggs,
if he wanted them, bacon,
of course,
if he wanted it, and
coffee, black and hot,
with a steamed mixture
of sweet milk, and honey, and,
home made
sticky buns, if
he wanted them.
how could
so much love
go unpunished?
and still,
he felt,
picked on;
still,
he felt
unappreciated
by all he felt holy:
money
and memory.

now,
the onion gears,
once so sharp
and pungent,
whirl away
in a soft pulp
unable
to catch
and control
what had come
so naturally to him.
of course,
he was bred
from it
and for it;
bred
to control
a spiked
and wicked, duplicitous,
untrustworthy,
capricious,
and an inchoate
world with what power
he could muster
or bluff.
he bullied,
bought,
bungled,
and blighted
his private landscape;
he watered some,
ignored others,
reversed fields,
began again until
each blade of grass
groveled and fought
against every other blade
for whatever drop of water
was kept hidden
in a bucket
he professed
had leaks
and would
eventually
go dry.

now,
most things
are dry.
now,
the exception
is the constant.
now,
he cannot control
not even his bowels.
in this,
his cataract times,
his hardened wax times,
as his colors drip and run,
washing themselves free
of creation’s embrace,
as his sounds of songs and sex
get muted and lost
in the straw and sawdust
of creation’s wheeze,
he counts the minutes
to his next feeding,
he tosses aside
those minutes
as the day
diminishes
and the night
grips him
with geometry
stripped
from memory
or desire.
now,
he keeps
a light on
at his bedside
while the television
roars,
as if
demons
are afraid
if someone is awake
or has company. they see
his naked lumbering
on legs jiggling with fat
and weakness; they see
the flesh from his belly
belittling, and hiding,
his genitals,
as he rummages
for anything
to chew on. they see
him lumber back
and into bed, a bowl
or dish,
or plate, in one hand,
a glass of liquid
in the other. they see,
as he nods, his head
falling side ward, with and to
the wine,
the barbiturate,
the analgesic
he had ingested
earlier, and consistently
to give the screen
the opportunity
to become blank
and soundless.

one day,
much like today,
or tomorrow, a day
that might have held
a laugh,
or a promise,
he will go,
without especially meaning to,
beyond me, beyond
all of us,
but won’t be
disappointed.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2004

No comments:

Post a Comment