From a line of phenomenal rulers
Always goes above & beyond
The one who shares great wisdom
He is my hero
Eternally grateful to have a loving,
A Poem About A Nerdy Arty Knightly Herpetologist.
This is a poem I wrote when I was 15, so don’t expect too much. The first bit of writing I was ever truly proud of though. It crudely captures the gentle and agreeable wildness of my father, and I like to think it manifests a little of the quirky subtle humor he imbued in me from the start:
My chubby fingers reach with glee,
Grab fists of beard, like wombat fur.
He moves his face to emphasize the tufts.
His beard a lulling instrument
All dads are meant to have.
When I’m old enough he shaves it off.
Unspoken end to infancy.
But youth is never really gone.
Persistantly it sews it’s seed;
Another unruly bush.
It may be the only thing I’ve ever written that I cared about enough to memorize. As I was travelling away from him and grieving the loss of my adventurous childhood, I internally recited this little snippet of plausibly-confabulated memory as proof of my immortal regard for the man I used to follow absolutely everywhere awestruck little girls were permitted. Even as I betrayed his unvoiced wishes by going off to the other side of the planet and marrying a stoic whom he strongly and stoically disapproved of, I wasn’t ever able to do it with the proper air of rebellion. When I wrote the beard, and indeed up till the moment I boarded the plane, I had never considered the possibility that I would ever want to do anything which might even vaguely cause him the slightest disappointment.
...I’ve questioned myself continually ever since.
At the Table with Dad
“I wonder what
The poor people
Dad posed this
At the kitchen table
Where he, Mom
And us eight boys
Jammed in for supper
Mom’s suppers were simple
But whether it was
Hamburger and noodles
Or hot dogs and beans,
Dad sounded as if
Ours was a royal feast
“I wonder what
The poor people
Maybe his question
Was part kudo to Mom
And part a desire
For his family
To be considered
As middle class
But Dad was a cop
Who worked hard
And wanted the best
For his loving,
We lost our father
Long ago, but I
Can still hear him say,
“I wonder what
The poor people
Maybe you had the perfect Dad, but I didn’t. Nevertheless, he was ‘my’ Dad and I miss him. Nobody is perfect.
When he passed away eight years ago, the whole family assumed I’d write the eulogy.
(I’ve written every eulogy & speech on behalf of my Family for decades. Weddings, funerals, graduations...ect)
This, was much more difficult. Losing a parent unexpectedly and at a young age (67) was a shock for me. My Dad was not sick. He was not in the hospital, he had a heart attack at home, sitting in his own recliner, watching the news on his big screen TV. He had plans to go out for breakfast with his neighbor the next morning, she is the one who found him. We got the news from the police.
My Family does not understand the creative writing process, and how thoughts either flow or they do not. I told them I did not want to participate in choosing Church songs and readings. I told them, I trusted their decisions.
This gave me time to work on the eulogy-
The truth is, I didn’t need time. My Dad’s eulogy came to me before I could even sit down to write it. Thank God, I had the strength to read my own words that day. I think Dad would’ve been proud.
Now, Father’s Day for me, is a trip to the Cemetery, prayer and memories.
We only get one Dad. Enjoy him while he’s still here. Please remember- if your Dad is not perfect, if he forgets your birthday, what grade you’re in and what school you go to- because he’s busting his ass so you can have all that you need, including those braces on your teeth-
Nobody is perfect.
The one we call dad
When I was 3, I was dropped off at a day care that did not care about the kids just so my dad can go gamble. My brother almost died at that stupid day care.
When I was 5 and starting school, I had to walk to and from school with my other young siblings in rain, snow, strong wind, or heatwave because no one cared enough to drive us.
When I was 6, my dad threw me into the deep end of the pool and told me if I wanted to live I'd learn how to swim and then he walked away. Thankfully, I learned to doggy paddle.
Ages 7 through 10, I watched my dad and mom fight almost daily. Yes it was loud. Yes it got physical. Yes he sent my mother to the hospital many times. Yes he took his anger out on us too. As a child, I soaked it all up. I was conditioned into fear and low self worth.
I grew up with screaming, fighting, anger, threats in the middle of the night, cops at our door, and talking to child protective services over and over without anything ever being done. Because, of course, we were conditioned to lie. Did we like living in our situation? No. No kid, no person, ever would. But, did we want to be split up from our siblings? Also no. So we lied and lived in the negativity and constant danger.
When I was 11, my dad crossed a line. He almost killed my mother in front of us all and he knew he messed up and ran. And so did we. In the coming week, we packed as much as a gym bag or two would let us and left him, heading to a different state entirely and losing everything.
When I was going through middle school, ages 11-13, my dad hired a private investigator to try to find us. He threatened to find us and kill us all for leaving him. Before he was able to find us, he was sent to jail for a few years. I didn't hear from my dad after that for a while. Constantly throughout high school I would imagine that he was either dead or very close to finding us. I would be afraid that he would burst through the door of one of my classrooms and grab me.
A couple months before I graduated, he reached out and tried to have a serious relationship with me and my siblings. He wanted to say sorry and get to know us and how we grew up. We rejected him.
On the day I graduated from high school, as I was celebrating getting my diploma with my family after the ceremony, I got news that he passed away. I didn't feel sad. Or happy. I just felt numb to it. My life would have been the same if I heard the news or didn't. The only reason I remember the damn anniversary of his death is because it landed on the same day as my graduation. He made me numb and insecure. Those were the gifts my dad left me. That and bad genetics. My anger comes from him and it took me years and years to learn to control it. Especially as a young child. But eventually, I did. Thankfully.
Every now and then, I wonder what would have happened if I reached out to him and let him apologize and have a relationship with me. Even if for a few months. I wonder what he would have said.
I can assume what a father should be like towards his daughter: loving, kind, caring, supportive, protective. He should show her how a man should treat her. I don't know how any of that feels. My dad would have thrown me to a pack of wolves and never looked back. Protect me? He'd kill me to save himself without a second thought.
Over the past year and a half, I've tried to learn how to love. How to care. But I can't. I'm still numb. I see a man laughing with his young daughter and giving her piggy back rides or buying her ice cream or random toys and gifts and all I can remember is how I wasn't allowed to buy the things I wanted because my dad would rather gamble the money away than buy me a doll.
What's it like to laugh with your dad? To have inside jokes with him? To be able to talk to him? Share with him? What was he supposed to do? What was his role? Was he supposed to help me figure out boys? Or life? Was he supposed to push me to better myself? To try new things? What? I don't fucking know. And I never will. I'm not going to have some father figure to thank and buy a present for or give a card to or bake a cake for. While other fathers will be given cards and love, I will be...coasting through the day numbly. Always so damn numb. Probably won't even know it's fathers day until I see some ad or something to remind me. Thanks dad. And happy fathers day from your still broken daughter.
My father died
He didn’t have to
not then at least.
He had prostate cancer
slow growing treatable.
My mother took him
to a faith healer
laying on of hands
speaking in frightening tongues.
instead of a doctor.
I kissed the forehead
of his dead body
before they came
and put him in a black zip-up bag
held him close
and savored his smell.
I’ll never forgive my mother
for loving God
in some twisted way
more than she did my father.
I miss him.
I wish i could say, that all my memories were good
He was there when i was young, just like a father should
We'd go fishing, play cards and games
He thought it was funny when my sister and I called each other names
I was a real daddy's girl, went everywhere he went
For those memories, I wouldn't trade a cent
But as I got older, he started to change
He didn't care anymore, we became estranged
Today we don't speak, I have nothing to say
But what I wouldn't give, for all of those yesterdays!
To find them all
In one place
My father sought
The Christmas tree
Lived in a pot
Still it stands
The Balsam Fir
Outside our door
At its feet
My father found
In a ditch
Now it towers
His memory sings
The line of trees
Behind our house
Spruce of every color
White, Blue, Black
He loved them all
They stand so tall
From tiny sprigs
He found one fall
The golden Larch
The last addition
Buds in spring
Spider limbs each winter
The needled tree
And then the pines
Lodgepole and Jack
And the trio
Of Douglas fir
Which by name
Denies its roots
Which made him laugh
Until his death
He loved them all
Pale green coats
In the spring
In forests grand
His ghost still stands
There for a baby
Not there for the child
There for the young tot
But not for the teen
I don’t blame you,
You couldn’t stay
But I sometimes wonder:
What would have happened
If you were always my father?
I don’t do Father’s Day
More like Dad’s Day
Because where my father couldn’t be
I had a dad, a second father
Who raised me, and made me proud
That he was the one to take care of me
Take care of yourself, Dad
Take care of yourself, Father
Thanks for taking care of me,
The respective times each of you had me.
Fate Never Stood a Chance Against my Father
My father would never let me forget:
“Only boring people get bored, Anna.”
He never let us forget what annoyed us the most.
He kept us grounded.
The many sides of my father
come and go at mercurial speeds.
He lunges outward like the many appendages of a squid.
A flow of steady differences
causing mutiny in our prediction of what is next.
Fate never stood a chance against my father.
I guess, he never saw such promise in something so sealed.
Secret places of hiding were never his style.
He was a moving ball of kinetic energy
open and furious,
But gentle when he swept you away.
And did he sweep us away.
Even amidst our annoyed eye rolls
and heaving sighs,
His point was always made.
We were, at the very least,