Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Third Parentish Poem

At Three

He asks my wife
“Why daddy not here?”
when she takes him
to the park or school.
We see a grasp
of human need
and motive. Why,
we do not agree.

He does not know
why we work or play.
He does not know
people often move
cold to his whim.
In this delusion
we are one blood.

My wife starts the car
and pulls away.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another Parentish Poem

You’re Gettin’ There

After five summers of foot-messenger days
and countless 4 a. m. pots of joe over
hastily written studies of single lines,
after wandering drunk and American through
Bolivian, Portuguese, Indian shanty towns, dust
sopping my collagens, after millions of meetings
between my jogger’s knees and pot-holed asphalt roads,
after weeks of meetings in laminate conference rooms,
discussing plans still at doodle stage,
after thousands of months aboard commuter trains
smelling of backed-up porta-john and rancid pizza,
after five servings of fennel sausage and fake crab meat
at each of ten annual family feasts,
after twenty-one walk-up flats, one co-op, one condo,
one private house and two upstate vacation plots,
after two gerbils, four guinea pigs, a goldfish,
a ferocious Persian cat, five thousand walks
of a fluffy dog with inch-long fangs and attitude,
after three squally marriages and four overcast live-in trysts,
after two years of hormone injections
and an adoption across three continents,
after the endless discovery of poopie diapers,
after the same three episodes of a pre-school puppet show
over and over again, after a majority of sex-less months
and resignation to limited success
my mother eyes my gray strands, creased cheeks, blank eyes
and announces, “You’re gettin’ there.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A New Parentish Poem

Bathing a Samoyed

My son is bouncing on his bed, because

it is new bought, because

he does not want to bathe, because

he wants to show me he is not the dog

that passed away St. Patty’s night five years ago.

His voices for penitence, anger, revolt

surrender to ghosts that never expunge

the wars and disasters from cable news.

I remember Samoyeds squirm constantly

but most dogs accept the bath as part

of the normal cycle of canine life.

I’ve coerced him into the tub.

The instructions also advise to drag.

Dog living. My boy slips under the suds,

his hair like the bygone sailor’s,

guileless siren to himself.

When eyes sting he’ll let me know

while I remember walking him, the lift

of the leg and daydreams through magnolias

to the insight that it was that moment

we’d spend our late years aping. I was

doomed to early death the night he dropped

to the pavement, licked his cancerous paw

and sighed, remembering then to ask myself

Am I watching him die?, my son

rolling on the carpet now. Playing with blocks

and trucks is so much harder than you think

once the rest is long behind you, once

compared to tasks with clear-cut steps.

When the fur feels free of soap, remove

your samoyed. He will probably jump out gladly.

My son is bouncing in front of clouds

of deadly steam from containment walls

and revolutionists leaking blood.

Samoyeds readily show disdain.

I am silent. It is 3 p. m. and I want to sleep

through his first dog and the rest of his youth.

He lays his head on my chest and asks,

kicking me in a stretch for the remote,

Daddy, now can we watch my show?