I have survived 30 years in Information Technology and am now retired. I live in Massachusetts with my wife and two cats. My tanka poetry has been published in many online and print journals. I won second place in the 2012 Tanka Society of America contest, and received an honorable mention in the 2014 contest.
P O E M S A B O U T M Y F A T H E R
is like an aging sun
that can't remember how to shine
and keeps recycling
the same old light
and I say "Yes, Dad, Yes"
and I don't mind
how I grew
in the garden of his wisdom
all the times
that he didn't mind
Playing Ping Pong With Dad
You never once hit a slam at me,
just quietly returned everything.
I would stay out late while you stayed awake
listening for the sound of my car door closing
— so little did I know.
On one of those nights that car got stolen
and there was no one to call for help, but you.
You could have brought a hard-hitting sermon
for the ride home
but you didn’t.
In the sixties I longed to be a soldier
in the radical revolution
just like my friends, who I knew
were much smarter than you.
One day at college
I laid my principles on the line
at a high school nearby
to protest an outrage described in a flyer
and got arrested.
You wanted to talk.
The hard slam was coming now.
I was ready, armed with catch phrases,
all in a crouch, alert for the lecture
which never came.
“When you are out of school, son,
you can save the world, if you want.
For now, while I’m paying the bills,
I would appreciate it a lot
if you would stay out of jail.”
It was an unhittable shot
and you knew it.
Your next lob had a legal spin:
no stain of this sin
would appear on my record
or be an issue in a job interview – ever.
In your old age now, you laugh a lot
and repeat some things:
“Happiness is the sound
of a car door closing
at three in the morning."
Game. Set. Match.
grabbing a blanket
speaks of winter…
he just told us, Dad describes
the dress Mom wore
on their first date
that night at Moonlight Gardens
the wire Dad used
to steady our tree...
I visit his grave
on Christmas day
Credits: My Father originally published in Ribbons 8.3; so thin originally published in Gusts 19.
©2014 Ken Slaughter