Words, 1988

He’d be dead in three months.  Bob.  
The big guy came walking up the 
driveway, eyes fixed on the lawn.
Dad was watering.  Same jeans
he had in the 70s.  Same brown
flip-flops.  He didn’t stop moving the
hose back and forth.  I stood watching.

“Listen, we gotta talk.  Bury
this thing.”

It’s what everyone wanted.  The whole
block.  Just make up, some said.
He didn’t mean it, others said.  He said he was
sorry.  I just wanted them to be friends again.

But I knew my dad.

“Mom, you gotta talk to him.”
She pointed to the ring not on her
finger.  She shook her head.
She went back to her coffee.
She knew him too.

“Go home, Bob.” That’s all dad said.
Bob looked at me, then back at the 
lawn.  “I said I was...You know what?
Fuck it.”
He walked away.  Home.

Dad coiled up the hose.  “He
talks too much.”

When Bob was dead, his wife
waved me over, drunk on her porch.
“I’m sorry,” she slurred.  “Bob never
should’a said those things.”
She reached for my hand.  

“Honey, it was just a joke.” Her pinkie went up.
“Honey, he didn’t care about that stuff.”
She rubbed my hand.

I shifted away.  I left.  Dad was on the
porch, standing.  I went into the house.  
He followed.
“You want to go get some new
brake pads for your car?”  

More poetry. Always, more poetry here.

And stories, for people that want to lose themselves for a bit. Here.

For my dad


I get practicality from him,
and height.
I can stay up until 2am,
get up at 6, and push through the day.
Smart friends call this “resilience”;
I just call it a day.
Up or down, it’s still got to be lived.
Might as well do it awake.

I can’t fix cars like him, and I don’t
have grease under my fingernails
and my hands are not rough like his.
But I don’t trust mechanics with
clean, soft hands, and at least I don’t
drive around ignoring strange noises.
Both are him,
and I’ve never said that before.

There is not one person on this planet
confused about the way he feels –
personally or about life.
He likes what he likes and who,
doesn’t have much time for niceties.
He is himself, and when he leaves
he’s going to take nothing but himself,
and he’ll be just fine with that.

I don’t know where I got the letters;
he doesn’t trust books, or writing.
But it seems, as long as I have them all,
I might as well do something useful.

Here:  he did his best by me.
I guess that’s all I need to say.