Tag Archives: Father



He loved his neighbors, but not out loud

(Only by default could we tell if he was proud
men did not hug their friends or children then)

There were no women in the bar
and all the tables round and small
heavy with ashtray and pilsner draft
where they talked code till closing time

Politics of any stripe meant you are my brother
The weather, whatever the weather
meant I love you too



I lost my father
when he was sixty one

He wasn’t exactly lost
I knew where he was
but he didn’t

Six weeks in a coma
some parts he sent ahead
and some came back

The great Swiss-German
precision driven
driven precision
mind stopped ticking

True the right artistic side
the one he’d put away
the one that mostly died
when his mother died
at eight came out to play

Whatever we hadn’t resolved
and there was plenty
stayed that way

but art is no small
thing either



In the short days of a long winter
we sort nuts, bolts, and washers
against the busy days of summer

Place them in well-marked bins
accompanied always by his mentor’s
Never waste five dollars worth of time
looking for a five cent bolt

The 9/16th fine-threads do not go in
with the regular or coarse

When you’re four
it’s not hard to get up
at four to ride in the cattle
truck to the city with your dad
excitement keeps you awake all night

There are knots you need to know
reef, sheepshank, and the ever
popular bowline that can still
be undone even after looping
a red bull weighing a ton

Hook the twine around your
little finger just son, in a way
that I could never get,
three turns and knot
the gunny sack
in two seconds

Heel that calf, or turn the herd
drive the truck at the perfect speed
to catch the combine
on the fly

There is a great deal of pleasure in
doing something right, when right
is the only way anything should
ever be done

But never far, even yet
from the red-black cloud
of doing it wrong