Dad

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The second person that I remember loving was my dad. I knew what it was long before I had the words to describe it. His long, curly hair, bell bottomed legs, too small t-shirt. He was cool and handsome. He was always angry and mostly drunk. And I loved him more than anything. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to carry his six packs and collect his baseball bat the second it swung from his hands wildly with a crack. The only men that have ever owned me are just like him, bluster and emotion.  Glass castle kings, court jesters.

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There were as many holes punched in the walls of my childhood home as there were beautiful moments of rock and roll in the big old Chevy. He is the person that taught me to hold up the facade by any means necessary.  He is the man who built a wall of anger around my life. But I love him.  Because of him I know how to see past the facade and beyond the anger. I know that was never his intention, the sending of me in the exact opposite direction. But I reckon that a lesson learned is a still a lesson learned regardless of how you get it.

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My father is a reckless mix of heart and fear, his every cell is laced with unmet desires and blurry visions of former greatness. My grandest dream is to rise fully and completely from that legacy. Knowing in my chest that he did what he could with what little he was taught and forgiving him for not aiming higher. Knowing that as damaged as he was, there was always a roof over my head and food on my plate. There will always be countless kids who have had it worse. There will be kids who have it better and still see nothing but struggle. This is my life and I worship every stinking second that builds these years. The good ones, the bad ones, the whole lovely mess of it all.

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Father’s day, for me, as it is for many, is a day to see how far I have come.  I am who I am because of and despite the earth that grew me. I will never be able to go back and have the childhood that I think I deserved. But it is certainly far from over. I get to be the adult my universe deserves. And if I don’t, that ones on me.

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 *All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  
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My Little, Young, Old Lady

I do not understand the casually savage lottery of death.  I cannot craft even a sentence that eases the pain or navigates the logic of life extinguished.  Words sound wrong.  They all seem hollow and contrived.  I find no tools to build anything that will protect you or comfort.  The one skill that I possess does nothing here.  Sadly, it seems that there is no poetry in dying.  There are no balms, no ladders to serenity, no roads back.  If I could only decipher this, maybe then would there be the right words there, the ones that heal.  I cannot.  There is no wisdom in this.  Though I try to find some.  For now, there is none.

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What I have for you is this.  I can tell you what I know.

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When we met I knew that our love would live.  It would not be something of stone and history, it would be lush, forever growing, alive.  A redwood, a city of light, something undilutable by time or water.  You are one of those people that offer up such perfect kindness in the presence of dark, a whisper that quiets all of the constant yelling.  You are like an antique, well made, ageless, your manners harkening back to a gentler time.  I would always feel a loving tinge of jealousy when you spoke of your Berenstein Bear family and the tender factory of love that grew you.  The wonder of that life, your life, holds me now.  I can feel it running up and down my spine, gratitude and joy for having met this father of yours.  This most caring and smart man who taught you to be a humane creature in a strange and cruel world.  I feel supremely blessed to have had a few moments to bring to life all of the lovely things you have shared about him.

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You told me once that I am your pit bull, that I fight when you won’t.  And I will.  I will always rally to protect the kindness in you.  I will clear out the dance floor so that you will have room to do the jitter bug (or whatever old folk dance you do).  But right now, you have to fight.   You have to stand up tall, put up your fists, and fight.  Fight to remember all of the things,  good, gooder, and best.  Fight to keep the dark at your back.  Fight the undefinable insanity of death.  Even when taking a breath seems impossible.  Even if every second burns your skin and blinds your eyes.  There are no words and there never will be.  And that means that in order to survive you need your heart and the quiet strength of the people who made you.  They are inside of you, they are outside of you, and they will be the might behind your every movement, forever.

Chevreuil dans un champ de blé - Région Champagne Ardenne - Marn

 

If I could take this from you, I would.  I could find a way to fill all of the cracks in your heart with gold, you would be exploding with light.  But I cannot.  What I can do is close my eyes, hold your grace in my body, and spend every moment in the kind, warm place that you have shown me.  And for this I am grateful.

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