Years ago, browsing in the community college library, I learned of a magazine, one specifically for men rather than being unisex, that allowed one amateur article per issue. Of the amateur submissions, half were about a man’s father. For many, dear old Dad is something to reflect and write about, something important.
So when I made a manuscript of poems around the topic of Martian invasion, of course my father would figure in there somewhere.
In this poem the danger is still far off. I suppose this symbolizes, in the actual world, my father being at last beyond the slings and arrows of worldly troubles.
Father, Using Wheelchair
in his wheelchair,
resides beyond reach of the Martian advance.
reads the paper,
or hears about Martians destroying the land.
Father strode as Cub-leader, Scoutmaster and Cadet Corps officer.
He knew a lot,
about the world.
once I wished he knew more about my world,
and my life.
is sleeping in the next hospital bed.
has my love,
beyond reach of my doings and dreams.
When parents become more loving in the later years it is not because “they are faking it” but because their lives are easier as burdens fall away. Children gone, job gone, house smaller, expectations more realistic… I try to judge them by the present, not by what they said or believed back beyond the statute of limitations.
My Three Dads
My dark haired dad
is permanently mad at me.
The wood stove glows red through the cracks.
Dad nicely holds the blast door shut
until I make another mistake.
My grizzled dad,
one day when I visit,
before I have learned to bring a pocketful of stir sticks,
gets real mad when I waste a spoon
stirring my instant coffee.
I act natural,
and soon take a walk.
I tell him I am mad at him being mad.
Mother answers he’s not mad,
he’s just impatient.
My white haired dad smiles
and says, “Sure you can.”
He believes what I say,
and he believes in me.
~Speaking of families, a recent Cannes Film Festival winner that may have already left your town (since it has subtitles) is Shoplifters, starring some of Japan’s best actors. They rescue/kidnap an abused girl; later the new “mother” says something like, “We have to raise her to have concern for others, or else she will end up like us.”
The girl’s real parents don’t even report her as missing… Of course with the her love and fear of her real mother, the little girl says about her bruises, “I fell.” When all is said and done, which mother would you think she chooses?
~For your slowww blue days, here’s a (link) music video, by Winnipeg’s Crash Test Dummies, that did not make the top ten on the charts in Canada. Wth a “resigned refrain,” it’s about isolated children; at least the children smile big and bow at the end. The song is Mmm mmm mmm mmm. (They are the band who did the mournful Superman's Song)