I Learned This

I didn’t write anything at all on Father’s Day,
But rested instead, in a quirky, working way,
I did everything just like my dad showed me,
Before he started to lose the man who he used to be.
I pray that the harder struggle doesn’t happen to me,
But I see clear signs all around me already.
He used to be so strong, and worked so very hard,
At his job, at church, for friends, or strangers, or in the yard,
I can see that more than he loves himself, he still loves us,
His kids, his wife, and surviving friends, He’s my image of Jesus,
When he was younger and stronger he set the tone
Expecting respect, demonstrating grace and love, until we had grown
And always showing love for my mum that still gleams in his eyes
Despite the frustrations that can still make them both cry
I learned this.

So I worked in the yard and the house on Father’s day
Resting hands in the dish soap, in the garden, at play
And I flirted with her;  ’til it hurt when she pushed back,
But I loved past the point when I felt her attack
And I don’t understand how, but I love the same way
Sometimes it works out, it’s what dad would say
The kids disrespect and the wife says things harshly
And occasionally she sees me hurt, says she loves me,
Then offers something different than she knows I really wanted
Because love sometimes translates, and sometimes it doesn’t
If I only know how to speak love with the tongues of mere humans
Ending with surrender, I miss the mark by even farther then
I have to do more than say it to make it really count
Say I’m crazy, but love’s worth blood and pain, any amount
I learned this.

Instead of intent and accomplishment, I gave up and spent
Time to show love, and then our time came and went
To say it, to be it, an example to my kids, and proof to her
That I meant the words of my vow, just like my father
Mum’s frustrated; He says he can’t do it, I feel his discouragement,
As strength that once filled him is replaced by bones, bent,
He gets tired easily instead, now in slow, aging decline,
And his legs hurt sometimes, I’m sure much worse than mine.
She and I did mundane things, held hands, being together
I missed my chance to mow the grass, caught by stormy weather
I can’t get frustrated.  It’ll have to wait until another day
Another time, because love’s worth the time, and any price I’ll pay
I learned this.

A kind word, and laughter, are stronger than strength
I want a legacy of love that outlives my life’s length
But I begin to realize the things I can’t do still
That I used to just do; now I still try; I always will
Offering guidance with a gentle hand, a story, a joke meant
To distract but discipline, train by encouragements spoken
There are and will be days when I want my way, for me
But more often that’s not how I hope to be in their memory
They see me, discouraged, and I get up again, disappointed by
Life, and I get up again, I smile, fall and get up, trying to try
And fail, and try until I win, or die, I want to leave this
They see me discouraged, and angry, I cry, shoot and miss
The mark, but I keep on trying, fighting my pain with rage
Because I’ve seen deep meaning behind trying as I age
I learned this.

My dad is old and sometimes, too tired to try again,
I’ve seen him want to surrender, depressed, and then
To spite the lie, the warrior’s glint in his eyes flashes
Rage to raise to his feet again, teeth grind and gnash as
He tries anyway.  Despite all the negative-he may fail
When he feels disappointed, left alone after betrayal
“A righteous man falls seven times,” and gets up again
I may never be righteous; failure feels like all I’ve ever been
But I want to get up, love, and fight, when I remember his life
She doesn’t speak his language well, but she’s still his wife.
Not all of this is shown perfectly, by either my father or me,
But it’s worth the effort, if generations grow, learning to see
That noble struggles with life, with their personal humanity
Are the ongoing examples they ought to choose to leave.
I learned this.

Thanks, Dad.

Thirty Seconds

Thirty minutes becomes thirty seconds in just a few blinks of the eye,
Thirty seconds, a shadow beckons; we can’t hide from time, but we lie,
Makeup, plastic surgery, thirty thrice wrinkles, all covered, and we still die

Thirtyseconds, a fraction of fractions, a miniscule piece of a pie,
Thirtyseconds, blurred musical motion, I can hear it, but not count that high,
A bite, a taste, a tiny tease. I want much more of both, please!  Can I try?

Thirty seconds and only one winner; after first place all others are not,
Thirtyseconds, three and one eighth percents.  Math in a poem?  Why not?
How much of a fifth is a thirtysecond? I’d give that problem …a shot.

Tales from the Old Side

I watched an old episode of Friends on Netflix. The one where Tom Selleck feels old. Oh, if you watch the shows they do have titles like that but that wasn’t the title. It’s “The One Where Old Yeller Dies.”

I had just been the designated driver for my charming daughter and her friends from school. They’re just making the changes from being little girls to becoming young women. I took them to their destinations and back and then my daughter flipped on this show that she is just now starting to watch and enjoy. Needless to say, in my daughter’s circle of Friends, I’m “The One Who Feels Old.”

The shit of it is, I don’t have the fancy car, or the cash of Tom’s character. At least, if it’s any consolation, I do have the dashing good looks and the hot wife, when she wants to give me the time. Mostly the hot wife is either doing things or sleeping. Last week I went with her someplace I really didn’t want to go, just because I wanted to be with her.  Sure it was torture, but I got to spend the time with her.

I got her a book. She hasn’t read it yet. I got her another book, because, why bother learning from the earlier episode?

I’m boring. I like the library, I like to drink (alone, as you may well know, but hard-earned wisdom dictates I have a two to three drink maximum limit), I like to read, I like to write, I like to clean house. Boring. I want to be the guy with the MONEY for the car but I don’t want the fucking CAR. I want to be the guy with the MONEY for the big house, but all I want to change about my house is to add a room with a couch and a TV and a computer and a refrigerator and ice maker, for me to use as an office, for when I want to be a hermit, or for when Mrs. M needs me to fuck off. She can hide with me any time she wants.  But maybe she wants a room of her own too.  To just rest.  And I want enough money to NEVER have to come out of that room. I don’t even need a window, because as was so beautifully phrased by Lin-Manuel Miranda “In The Heights” song “96,000,” “…the only room with a view’s a room with [Mrs M.] in it.”

Fuck.  I wish I wrote half as well as Mr. Miranda.  I don’t want to be in New York, unless I get to be “The One With Plenty of Cash and Free Time So I Can Choose to NOT be in New York.”

If I were a rich recluse…

I’d be a boring, rich, old recluse.  But I’d be up half the night and sleep until at least 9.  I might even develop a habit of brunch.  And please, no “early bird dinner specials” for me, unless I’m having one for lunch.

Yes, Chef, today I’d like a hot, buttered Belgian waffle with real maple syrup, two scrambled eggs with medium-hot salsa, a medium 12 ounce ribeye steak, fried potatoes with onions, garlic and mixed peppers, Tanzanian Peaberry coffee, medium-light roasted, and a mixed fruit salad.  And a very tall “Screwdriver.”  Anyone else hungry?

Or maybe I’d be able to be a superhero.  Not “The One Who Saves People from Muggers.”  No, thanks.  I’d be “The one who sends anonymous packets of cash or thoughtful gifts to good people who need it.”  I could keep on writing.  If I had enough money, who would give a shit that my writing is shit?  I think I’d stay anonymous, if at all possible.  Who wants to be famous just for being rich?  I’ll leave that to …names withheld.  I’m sure you know of at least one person like that.  Maybe I could be “The One Who Frees People from Ass Holes.”

Hmm.. How can I do all this and still stay in my “office?”

Maybe I could be both:  a rich recluse with a brunch addiction, AND the gift sender.  I could still be anonymous little unknown Deon.  After all, with my dashing good looks and devilish smile, under this disguise of actual class, who would ever recognize me if I DID go out of my “office?”

Tonight:  “The One Where Our Hero Goes to Buy a Lottery Ticket”

My daughter and her friends can laugh all they want  about how old I’m getting.  I’ll be laughing when they hit their 30s, or 40s, and their 30s and 40s hit back.  And yeah, I feel it sometimes.  But most of the time I’m “The One Who Still Feels Like He’s 25.”  I can stay up later than these kids; they have no stamina.  I only wish my wife still acted like she was 25.  Sometimes, though…  ::smiles devilishly::

Your Beast of Burden

Your Beast of Burden, 07/24/2015, Deon Mumple

The ponderous load restricts in every way,
I am forced to carry my burden, march,
I fall and try to drag myself, my chain,
Inertia wages war, breath ragged, parched,

There is no purpose other than to wound,
There is no progress, no diminishing,
I sleep, restless, in my makeshift cocoon,
And wake, pained, weighted, begin laboring,

Some days I dream of freedom from it all,
If death should come and could bring me the key,
I force myself to rise, and again, fall,
Slave to a Master whom I cannot see,

Given a sense of some empowerment…
But no, brute beast, I’m not intelligent.