HOT! DON’T TOUCH!
Every child learns the rule,
and at least once by painful hands on
experience. So un-cool.
But yes, we came to know that hot
was extremely un-cool. I still have a scar to prove it!
DON’T TALK BACK TO YOUR MOTHER
Respect came in various lessons,
and messin’ with Ma was one learned early.
The old man went squirrelly when we dissed
his missus. He truly went nuts,
no ifs ands or buts.
BE NICE TO GIRLS
Another respect in the same regard.
Sometimes it was hard to ignore
a sassy kid sister. But our Father mister,
would forget his rule when fueled by shots
and beers. My greatest childhood fear.
I DON’T KNOW WHY I CALL YOU SONNY
He called me sonny and it was funny
when he’s follow up with this admission.
“You’re not that bright!” he’d tease
although it pleased me to know I was
what he called the “sharpest tool in his shed”
DON’T TOUCH MY TOOLS
Speaking of tools, I couldn’t get it through my head
that his tools were his trade and it made him mad
when I had used his implements.
He’d get bent out of shape and went ape
sure as I tell you. But he knew…
PUT MY TOOLS AWAY
…that I had an affinity for fixing things
just as he had all his life. So the new rule was this:
If you use it, put it where you found it!
A lesson ground into my head from the start.
It didn’t take long to take it to heart.
MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
As my skills sharpened he showed me
the power of his power tools. Respect.
And when using his table saw, his bromide
was remembered with pride. Measure it twice
and cut once. Or was that…?
I DRANK TOO MUCH
Cirrhosis of the liver came with much sadness.
And regret. Too many angry tirades on payday,
always a way to display his dominance.
But the prominence of that disease did not please.
The truthful answer was it had developed into liver cancer.
I WASN’T A GOOD ROLE MODEL
Tuesday afternoon lunch with Dad was an hour
in his confessional. His lament sent pangs deep
and I’d keep quite as he said his litany of faults.
Two Walts in contemplation; a revelation in the same
name. He wasn’t as bad as he’d claim
I WAS A LOUSY HUSBAND (I MISS YOUR MOTHER)
When Mom had passed, his was the last name she called.
It galled him that at the end there was nothing he could do.
He knew he could have been more attentive, even if it meant
he had to bury his machismo deeper. He’d say, “Mom was a keeper”
But he wished he did enough to prove it.
I COULD’VE BEEN A BETTER FATHER
We never wanted for anything knowing
if we didn’t have it, we probably didn’t need it.
We had stylish clothes and kept our noses clean.
Food on the table, a roof over our heads,
warm beds… he did ok by us, he couldn’t be any better.
They say the test of a man is in knowing his limitations
and admitting when he was wrong. His apology to us
was as heartfelt as any rule or lesson he could have taught.
And by doing so, brought us to understand.
our Father was one hell of a man!
Another Tuesday, he in the throes of chemo.
“How are you doing, Pop?”
“Sonny, I’m dying!” The reality slap.
“But, you know what?” he say,
“I don’t know why I call you Sonny!”
I LOVE YOU
Here was a good man with admitted faults
and a vault full of knowledge he had passed
to my five siblings and me. And when all
was said and done, he had just one more thing to say.
“I love you”. And that was the most important thing!
…and then he didn’t say anything more.
He didn’t need to.
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016
Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge – Day #28: “Important ___________”
We wage this war all our lives, from the day we’re born until we die. And try as we might, the fight for right tends to have the upper hand. We can stand toe-to-toe and know we gave it our all and yet still fall prey to our temptations or afflictions or addictions.
The greatest warrior I had ever known had shown me how to attack the “demons” in life. Unfortunately wielding the brown bottle, my role model had fallen deep into the alcohol abyss scratching and clawing to extricate his soul for his well being and that of his family. His flank unprotected, Dad was subjected to a counter attack. Cirrhosis of the liver sacked him while his back was turned. Then we came the fatal blow as we learned that cancer joined the barrage bringing a larger than life hero to his knees. No pleas of mercy could save him.
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016
Inspired by Michelangelo’s First Painting