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Old 06-15-2018, 06:23 PM   #1
Angeline
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2018 Fathers Day Challenge

Write a poem about your father or your experience as a father or any aspect of fatherhood that you choose. Form or free, ekphrastic, illustrated, spoken: whatever floats your boat, baby. You can contribute as many poems as you like and you have from now until May 26. That's a little over a week for the dad-a-bration which if you had a dad like mine is far too little time!

Just post them in this thread, live write if you want. There is no guessing who wrote what, sorry I ain't up to that much maintenance , just the joy of poetry and good karma.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:26 PM   #2
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Daddy every other Saturday
stuck to a neat agenda:
Barbershop
Carwash (hand
scrubbed and waxed)
then stop by the shop
for a cigar with Loren.
I sat between them
in the smokey cab.

Roman numerals kept
what little time he had.

Fiction was for women,
he supposed-- we read
newspapers. Saturday
epilogues. He loved
Nixon even after. As I
love him. Cigar
and all.
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:02 AM   #3
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Nice to see you're not ignored
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:27 AM   #4
chris2c4u
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I knew, even then I knew when I stood in the kitchen and father was still outside where we were cutting up something; was it a tree? I had gone inside and stood with my mother saying, “no, we haven’t finished yet.” and I remember it the sudden awareness that things might always be like this but that somewhere there was a stage. That was the outside but my father wasn’t there, he was here with us and this made it all right. No one looked meaningfully at one another. The moment passed. I don’t remember the rest.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:35 AM   #5
Tzara
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Rondeau for My Dead Father

I miss him still, I have to say.
He taught me love, how to behave,
Why generosity is right,
How starry skies are, post-midnight,
The meaning of Bastille Day.

The word games he so liked to play
He'd win by crossing, everyway,
Two-letter words he clustered, tight.
I miss him still.

To love one's father is cliché,
Because expected, come-what-may.
My love for him's not recondite,
But cooled volcanic andesite—
A Rock of Love, in DNA.
I miss him. Still.
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:21 AM   #6
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Live write, be kind :D

Whitney said she wanted to help;
she laughed when I made a little joke,
waited while I found paper, a pen.

Sweetie you want the gold package.
You get your cooking show, Starz
HBO, Showtime, only 8 dollars more


(Sounded fishy, so I asked an ocean
of questions.) Hope floats. You gotta
Stand, Speak up, Pay Attention!

Alright? S'alright.


In 3rd grade pesky numbers itch
worse than gnats so we drill: math,
root beer at the table, repeat repeat

I got what I wanted today. Daddy
this is how you live on in me.
I love you, Happy Father's Day.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:51 PM   #7
GuiltyPleasure
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Father

I have a letter
you wrote at sea
the year of my birth.
You know I'm here
but worlds away.

You never got to hold me,
drowning in the turmoil
of war, the oily swell.

"What was he like?"
Persistent
curiosity of a child.

They try,
using memories and
photos but you were
never real, just black
and white smiles,
yet here you are
in this faded ink
thinking about holding me.
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Old 06-16-2018, 08:06 PM   #8
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Distance

From the beginning, there
was a distance between us.
You were called to Korea
before I could sit, much less
walk and I walked early.

In grade 3, I showed you my A+ paper
which you covered in edits and I never
showed you another, until I gave a copy
of my dissertation, which you said
was rather technical.

In my teens, the distance grew as
I realized that on those rare nights
you were loquacious, you were
talking at me rather than to me
and it was the alcohol talking.
Eventually you conquered that
demon, which in some ways,
made the distance greater.

Then I went East and
you South and West and the
distance was physical too,
punctuated by brief visits
almost always on my part.

Now that the distance is
measured in years not miles,
there are moments when,
on a quiet trout stream
or weeding the garden.
I realise that distance
is mostly in my head.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:19 PM   #9
GuiltyPleasure
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These poems are lovely, sweet and moving. Thanks guys.
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuiltyPleasure View Post
These poems are lovely, sweet and moving. Thanks guys.
Yes they are lovely so far, eh? The idea of Fathers Day, no matter when or where, is evocative. For me it is and judging from the poems so far, I ain't alone.

I'm thinking of some form next. Maybe.

I hope more poets will join in. I know you're all lurking out there. And you know I know! So why not write a poem? They don't have to be sweet or happy or anything except what *you* have to say.

C'mon. (That's how we say it in Jersey, right GM?)
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:31 PM   #11
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The Mailman

He wanted to go to Seton Hall
for love of numbers, but his father
ciphered naught in ‘29, he thought
as he delivered another letter
in the armpit summer of ‘52
when his mailbag ached his neck
and shoulder such that it rendered
daydreams that companies wanted him
to keep their bottom line from breaking.

His secretary was holding a call
at her desk wearing a V-neck dress
when he climbed another porch.
Then she’d order tea for him
just in time so it wouldn’t get cold
as he studied the companies well
through the pictures he’d gotten to know
in colored brochures that they mailed,

the spell of which was broken
when two times fifty cents, he said
to no one, the sidewalk, and sun,
was too much to pay for Loony Tunes,
a newsreel, and a matinee
whose children were therefore indifferent,
begrudgingly ate their bologna
sandwiches on day old bread,
but rose at dawn with a silver spoon
in their mouth on Christmas in '52
to play with a set of Lionel trains
and a doll carriage with a canopy.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 06-17-2018 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 06-17-2018, 09:17 AM   #12
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Head of the Table

It wasn't a barrage,
so to speak,
but more of an oft-repeated
litany that circled
around the dinner table
(back when we still ate
dinner as a family)

"What'd ya do in school today?"

"Nuthin'"

"Nothing? You just sat there and did
nothing all day?"

"Pretty much."

"What'd you learn?"

"Nuthin'."

And, with any luck, Mom would have
everyone served by time we got to that
point...an undeclared line in the sand
where the four of us would dig in,
crossing fingers
knees,
ankles...and hoping for a few decent
swallows before voices became
raised and dinner shifted,
once more,
from casserole to ashes,

maybe, this time, all the dishes
would stay on the table,
all the bodies in their chairs.


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Old 06-17-2018, 11:02 AM   #13
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He wasn't even my Father,
just a clip on TV advertising
some programme to come.
Her shrill toddler laughter
of playing with Daddy
touched my heart, made me think
and wish I'd known
Is this how it should have been?
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:10 AM   #14
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Baba had seen poverty
from close quarters:
but he kept us in luxury
himself being strictly self-disciplined.

today I understand why
he never spent money on himself
he once remarked" By the by
unlike you: I am Not a rich man's son!"
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:15 PM   #15
UnderYourSpell
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The back garden was every vegetable and fruit
he could get to grow, to keep his family fed,
but his passion was flowers, especially roses.
Wallflowers, sweet peas and michaelmas daisies
rioted by the onion beds and out front
was where his dahlias and roses grew,
scrambling sweet scented over homemade trellises,
unhindered by rhubarb and carrots.
My job was picking off slugs and snails
from his prize dahlias because my sisters
squealed at anything creepy crawly!
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:25 PM   #16
cherries_on_snow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remec View Post
It wasn't a barrage,
so to speak,
but more of an oft-repeated
litany that circled
around the dinner table
(back when we still ate
dinner as a family)

"What'd ya do in school today?"

"Nuthin'"

"Nothing? You just sat there and did
nothing all day?"

"Pretty much."

"What'd you learn?"

"Nuthin'."

And, with any luck, Mom would have
everyone served by time we got to that
point...an undeclared line in the sand
where the four of us would dig in,
crossing fingers
knees,
ankles...and hoping for a few decent
swallows before voices became
raised and dinner shifted,
once more,
from casserole to ashes,

maybe, this time, all the dishes
would stay on the table,
all the bodies in their chairs.


Billy Collins can kiss your ass.
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Old 06-25-2018, 01:09 AM   #17
UnderYourSpell
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I see my Dad in my garden
Though the churchyard holds him now.
The flowers that bloom each summer
Gathered from seeds that I sow,
Come from plants that he grew and nurtured
Tenderly in a work worn hand,
Each one carefully planted
By a man that worked on the land.
No high flying job had my father
Just a shepherd with his flock,
His flowers still bloom in my garden
Sweet Jasmine and Hollyhock.
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:42 AM   #18
Angeline
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The Lower East Side Doesn't Always Love Us

Sonny, they called him,
he belonged to them first.
We, the interlopers, carried Sonny
away, disappeared him
into Jersey.

The Kaplan girls were 8 fiery redheads,
opinionated, pushing out of poverty,
queens of railroad flats and stoops,
blue-eyed fist shakers.

I never made it to their inner circle
(not for lack of trying). I never
understood the hostility. How
could we be genteel homeowners
and--at the same time--farmers
living like onions with our heads stuck
in the dirt?!

Oh you ever-muttering aunts.
You were forever sore we took
your only boy, wronging sister Rose.
You were sore he loved it with us,
whereas you wouldn't even cross
Second Avenue.
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Old 06-25-2018, 11:19 PM   #19
UnderYourSpell
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Before we ever knew him,
he was away at sea on the fishing boats.
Stranger still that he.
like many fisherfolk, couldn't swim.
On those deck pitching nights,
when the sea rose like a black monster,
towering over the mere playthings in her path,
did he ever wonder about his safety?

But he always made it home
to finally take a land job,
after all he now had a girl waiting
who much preferred him to be
driving the Vicar's carriage!
__________________
Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:20 AM   #20
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took a lot of years space between us
for me to realise that maybe
maybe
it wasn't all your fault
but how a 2 year old knows how to hate
with such cold purity
having seen you make her mother cry
and having climbed the scarp-wall stairs to make
that final push onto the bed
where mother lay in silenced sobs
because of you
that was probably the start

no, my mother was no whore
no slut or slapdash whining wife
she was the backbone of our crew
and worked all hours of each day
when you'd be in the bookie's shop
small winnings bringing home to us
a quarter pound of chocolate jazzies
in a white paper bag

as years and angry words passed by
hate grew to indifference
and once my own first child was born i tried
for their sake not for mine
to reconnect
but the disdain and anger still was rooted deep
it flowered still 'midst memories
of leather belts and threats

i never loved you
my mother, yes, and all i hold with some regard
though you've been dead for decades now
is the memory of how you spun
a bedtime tale...
poor mother never had the time
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butters View Post
took a lot of years space between us
for me to realise that maybe
maybe
it wasn't all your fault
but how a 2 year old knows how to hate
with such cold purity
having seen you make her mother cry
and having climbed the scarp-wall stairs to make
that final push onto the bed
where mother lay in silenced sobs
because of you
that was probably the start

no, my mother was no whore
no slut or slapdash whining wife
she was the backbone of our crew
and worked all hours of each day
when you'd be in the bookie's shop
small winnings bringing home to us
a quarter pound of chocolate jazzies
in a white paper bag

as years and angry words passed by
hate grew to indifference
and once my own first child was born i tried
for their sake not for mine
to reconnect
but the disdain and anger still was rooted deep
it flowered still 'midst memories
of leather belts and threats

i never loved you
my mother, yes, and all i hold with some regard
though you've been dead for decades now
is the memory of how you spun
a bedtime tale...
poor mother never had the time
__________________
Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
Sestina slut
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:19 PM   #22
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I don't think you ever knew
what she did to me,
afterall you were in the fields
when she laid into me.
It's the hope I hold onto,
because if you did know,
why, oh why Father
didn't you stop it?

Probably because you were afraid too
and I was the bottom of the pile.
The scapegoat. Expendable.
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Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
Sestina slut
Annie submits
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Old 06-26-2018, 08:44 PM   #23
Angeline
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And it's the 26th

Thank you all for your poems and for making this mini-challenge a success with minimal (like zero) effort on my part. I'm busy breathing!

Please keep adding to the thread if you are so moved. Deadlines are for....Deadheads? (Sorry...must be the drugs.)

I love reading your poems and our variety of perspectives on universal experiences. It never fails to delight me that we can come at the same topics from such different places, yknow?

I am still on the slowest road ever to recovery so if anyone has any new challenge ideas lay them on us! You are rocking 007, American Sentences, 5 Senses, Not Sure, etc., so there's always those, too.
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Old 06-26-2018, 10:39 PM   #24
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He was always there for me
He saw my spark and let me fly
He loved me with unwavering love
And now he watches me from above
A kinder man could never be
He is my Dad and he loved me for me
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:16 AM   #25
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demands, expectations abuse
how to separate the horrors from the life lessons
categorize the damage, to define that all damage is
not equal
separate the emotional
from the physical

to differentiate the kinds of suffering that life has
the layers to it
what can be controlled
what can be dismissed

demands
expectations
judgement

curse words of the masculine
in todays society
where feelings are paramount
where the emotional is as sacrosanct as the physical
where the disassociation of
emotional resilience is being waylaid
by the over balance of the feminine

father, such a strange relationship
I had with the end of your fist
your steel toed boots
the suffering and vehemence
characterised by violence
the vitriol of constant abuse

yet amid it
there were the times of praise
sparsely dabbled like scraps from a table
yet each was earned
by effort
by the strength of will to push past what I had known

every god damn thing from you
I earned
and savoured those moments
when love was more than the sound of
a fist on flesh
or the screaming cries of torment

and what I learnt was that
life
is suffering
but you find meaning in earning
by striving to be better
to succeed

its funny the way others look on the horrors of my child hood
I wish I could show them how it was through my eyes
then instead of shying away from pain
maybe
just maybe
they would step up and endure some of it
with a smile
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