an impromptu visitation (20170517)

i hear a rustling
like dried leaves
caught in a hot wind
coming from the spare room

i surprise my father
in the act of changing clothes

though silent
he seems angry
mouth clenched closed
like a vise
eyes squinting in judgment

you know you’re dead, right?

next year
he will be one hundred years old
and has been haunting me
from house to house for almost
a quarter of that century

both he and the clothes
are transparent
and when i remind of
of his non-corporeal state
he loses the angry look

though burly in life
he shrugs his grave-thin shoulders
fades away
with the sound of a brittle page
of an old book being turned

Poem 20150616

my dad used to tell me
that if you dug a hole
deep enough
you could look up
and see the stars

but he was wrong

so much of what he
had to say
what he said
or felt compelled
to pass on
was wrong

but he did give me a telescope
i held onto until my own kids
were old to look through it
and we tried to draw down the moon
white and tear-inducing
into an eyepiece
impossible to look into
without shaking
the telescope

Poem 20150328

the rooster said
that’s a joke son
a joke
i made a funny
but it went right over your head
too fast for you
you gotta keep your ears open
ears i say

and i laughed
and my dad who was sitting in
a recliner, almost sixty to my
ten years
laughed so hard that tears
ran down his face
laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe
and that to me was funnier than
anything the rooster said

Poem 20141207

we woke up early
for a saturday
and drove not that far
from my house
i say my house even
though he lived there
at the time
in his own room over
the garage
an extra father in the house
always watching sports
or listening to ham radio
or playing his old giant wurlitzer organ
or arranging meet-ups with women he met at church
at the coffee cart after service
but today we were going out
to golf
i had never held a real club in my hands
never once set foot on a course that wasn’t
in some way
but today he wanted to take me
to the driving range
so we woke up early
for a saturday
and drove not that far
from my house
but when we arrived
because this was how he operated
how he planned most of his outings
they were booked up
or the wait would be too long
or maybe i didn’t have the right shoes
or maybe i didn’t have the right attitude
and he just shrugged
and we went back
and he got on his ham radio
and turned on a football game
and i read a book