Why'd you have to do it that way?
The old gun to the head routine. What a cliche.
It's your fault, you know,
I'm such a drag on the emotional economy,
your dark cloud that visits every winter
and stays through spring.
I hate it, your lack of faith, your thick black sludge
slogging through my blood.
Take it back, you asshole--your rage
pricking every root of every hair,
your voracious hole demanding
more, more, more,
impotent voice that breaks loose
in molten curses--
dragonfire searing, mostly,
those dumb enough to love us.
Your hand pours wine down my throat--
glug glug glug--
liquid sugar to plug
the bottomless gullet.
But you taught me to drink poetry, too,
a kinder savior than the stern patriarch
who ruled your cold Lansing home
and the silent Methodist church.
You must've hated them, Calvinist
father and mother,
silent Sundays, dusty Bible--
you never talked about your childhood,
ran away as soon as you were able,
left me that ability to run
but not the ability to face forward
Gave me your square cleft chin,
blue eyes that squint as if against
a bone-crushing wind,
the temperament to dive
again and again into raucous waves,
figure the best way to crash in hostile seas,
and this white white skin, pale as skim milk,
your son's death suit,
cloth fit only for burning.
I want to drag you out
of senseless nothing,
your planned afterlife,
smack some sense into you,
you crusty son of a bitch,
fucking old cancer coddling wreck,
knock you around Tutu's blue living room
until you say you're sorry,
and pull me into one of those bear hugs
that took my breath when I
was just a lost kid without a father--
hold on and beg you to stay.