memories, mine and his
my dad collects memories,
a rock from a climb,
a toy car from his childhood,
a brass compass, a model of a ship,
he keeps these on his desk.
sometimes he exchanges one rock
for another, or the compass
may disappear and a tool
of unknown purpose may appear.
these things mean something to him,
he is sentimental, he wears
his heart on his sleeve, and these,
i know, are bits of happiness.
he's had plenty of the other.
of all, there is one that never leaves,
is never exchanged, and i wonder about it.
it's a little wind-up duck, plastic
and small and silly. it waddles
when it is wound, waddles across
the desk in a silly, ducky way.
i could ask him about it, but then
i'd know. i'd rather guess, and imagine.
it's funny how his memories
come at odd times, out of nowhere
he talks about mom's water
breaking around one in the morning,
driving the many miles
to the hospital, the first cool night
of autumn, the stars bright,
how happy they were, their first,
and she felt good, the contractions mild,
and they were both optimistic,
it seemed like a lark. it wasn't,
it was kind of a mess, but i came out
and they said i looked wise,
and looked in their eyes, and he was young,
a young father, and his silliness
and his seriousness, and his worry,
and love lay ahead of him.
his first year of college was good
and bad. he had to stop-out,
take a year off to get his head together.
he'd lost himself in the transition
of leaving his kidhood at home,
and adjusting to the world
of sex, drugs, and psychedelic music.
he lost his way, so he stopped-out
and worked, discovering
he liked work, and he straightened
himself out. he lived in a little rented house
on the top of a high hill, within sight
of no other house, and in his loneliness
he learned life lessons, this he's
told me, but he had help. his mother,
my gram, suggested he get a dog,
for the company, for the responsibility.
thus govinda came into his life,
a beautiful, long-haired german shepherd,
smart—that dog understood
his every thought or gesture. this i know,
like everything i know about
my dad from his own words, and mom's.
he was eighteen. met mom
when he went back to school. he was
dating, i.e. living the seventies,
with another, but he and mom fell hard.
in the process they each hurt
someone, and still talk of it, the pain
they caused. they studied art.
they lived in a little house
in the country, the three of them,
mom, dad, govinda. and chickens,
and goats, the house on a bluff
above a river, and it rained alot they say.
mom was a waitress, he was
finishing school after taking his year off,
and he worked pumping gas
and changing water pumps and tires
at steele's chevron, and wrote poems,
i come by it naturally, organically.
they married in the city courthouse,
by a judge, with prisoners
in orange jumpsuits and chains
in the ante-room. they honeymooned
at a holiday inn, and went back
to work the next day. he never stopped working.
never has. she popped me out,
and my brother, eleven years later.
on his desk he keep memories. a little
plastic duck, a silly little thing
that waddles when it's wound up.
i think it was mine when i was very little.
i'm sure of it. it's coming back.
Poetry by one trick pony
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Written on 2015-08-19 at 15:47
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