there within my father's sketchbook lays a heart a life and eye that i never quite could follow though the Lord knows how i tried to become him, and to gather what he meant, only to see there within those inks and colors something indefinable and free
my father loved his apples, he had an expertise from hours spent when just child picking them off trees. i see them now, and think of how they kept him happy, trim -- my father loved his apples, and i guess i loved him
I drive here as I drove long years ago
When my old father chatted by my side;
He spoke of hist’ry, mining and the flow
Of his thoughts, ever brimming long and wide.
But now I ride alone in silent thought.
My father loved this land, and understood
That life is cruel, and time is precious bought —
And things that
Make you smile
(“Arizona” – 11-8-2014)
I’ve missed my father every day
The long years since he passed away
A man who gave us all he had
Who lived his love and died our Dad
But time shifts colors, light to shade
Our photographs begin to fade
The mem’ries we would most hold tight
(“I’ve Missed My Father…” – 4-5-2014)
“You either own your mistakes, or your mistakes own you.”
You are almost five years old. We are walking through a shopping mall, one we come to every Wednesday night.
“We can pretend while we are here, if you’d like.”
“We can pretend that this is a spaceship. These ceilings above us just slide back, and we can see the stars.”
“Are we going to Mars?”
“Yes, when you pretend, you can go anywhere you want.”
“…You can keep moving forward. When you do that, you may suddenly find yourself in a better place. But better places hardly ever come to us, we have to move forward to get there.”
There’s a message from you on my phone at lunchtime. I know you’re not working.
I also know you’re almost certainly still using.
Because you found a way, years ago, to take the ceilings off. To go to Mars. At least in your head.
I’m fifty-seven years old; you’re twenty-four now. In the six years since you left high school, you’ve given up almost everything and everyone you really loved to chase Mars.
And I had gotten tired, exhausted, from trying to carry someone who didn’t seem to want to move, forward or otherwise. So you left town to live with friends.
But I hear from you, ever so often, at lunchtime.
“Hey. What’s up?”
“Have you been watching G-1 Climax this year?”
“No, I haven’t. How has it been?”
“Amazing. I had forgotten watching WWE how good wrestling can actually be when the performers just do it.”
“I’ll have to check that out.”
“Yeah, well I know you’re at work, but I just wanted to call sometime when I wasn’t asking for anything. Love you, Dad.”
“I love you, too.”
In my dreams, I’m still holding your hand, walking through a combination spaceship / shopping mall. I’m still trying, with everything I have, to make you see that you have what it takes to face life, to enjoy it, to thrive.
To show you that you can get rid of the ceilings that block out your real stars.
But, when I wake up, all I really have left is to love you.
Because nothing else has helped at all.
Take solace where you find it, son
And do not be ashamed;
For many are the griefs for which
The innocent are blamed
Take solace where you find it, lad,
And know this lesson true:
You cannot change a thing except
What you can change
It’s the lights of winter, son
That speak in darkest days of love
And may you grow to know
That they are speaking of
My father worked a farm out here
To save money for college;
He met my mom that very year,
Though never, to my knowledge
Did he return here after that.
He mentioned it, but spare:
And it took Apple Maps awhile
To find this stretch of somewhere
But here I am along the lane;
The air grows sharper, crisper —
And I stand silent, out time,
And hear the phantoms
All the days that were —
All the food cooked on this grill —
All the times that went:
For time just moves on, as it will —
But once, there were two hands
That labored here with love,
It’s not the bricks and mortar that
Such mem’ries are