I had a super busy day yesterday and did not get a chance to post. It was my dad’s birthday. So Happy Birthday to my dad. Truthfully, I have a lot of poems to choose from that my dad inspired. His presence lingers in a lot of what I write. I chose the poem I did because it speaks to how impactful my dad was in my learning how to read and write. I was blessed with a mom that read to us nightly and my dad, who was very strict at times about the importance of practicing writing and spelling. My dad not only emphasized the importance of practicing the skills. He was educated. He read himself. He talked to us about what happening in the world, about politics, and citizenry. He introduced to music that was culturally relevant and spoke about the times. He allowed us to play and played with us. He knew the importance of us letting us be kids, but he also instilled a curiosity for knowledge about the world, in which we live. He wanted us to be educated and to be good citizens. He worked hard to instill that in us through educating us, but he also modeled it. He continues to model it to this day. So Happy Belated Birthday to my dad, and thank you for helping me understand the value of knowledge and compassion.
In For the Night
Bring in the clothes off the line. Shut the garage door.
Watch the dirt run like black watercolor in a tub
As I run the hot water over my barefeet. Eyes on thoughts,
On breasts, on painted lips. Clear ice forms
As I read aloud to my father. He makes me read
To him about young politicians dying, about students
Protesting for the right to their voice, for labor unions
And the man who cries when his wife and kids are asleep.
Reminded of empty stomachs of the children
Starving across the world, as I sat
For hours staring at a pile of peas in front of me.
There was no Chopin or red wine, just
Canadian beer, Bruce Springsteen, and a father
Who would sit me down in a Lazy-Boy chair
Earned from months and months of paychecks,
Who’d insist I must learn to read
If I wanted survive, and so
I read and I read
And I read everything
My tiny hands could touch
Because my father told me
There was no such thing as luck
In this world. There were boys who loved dirt,
And stayed out past when the street lights came on,
And boys who obeyed their fathers
Reading all that they could.
Hoping someday they too could pass such words on.