His daddy is fighting in Iraq.
His mommy is fighting tears.
His brother is fighting death.
He is fighting his desolation and fears.
Friends are but a dream
and companions are an illusion.
School is a concentration camp,
but he stands, though alone, in the midst of confusion.
His training school is loneliness.
His milestones are fears, thrust in lies.
His only weapon is faith
and his bullets are soft "hallelujah" cries.
Strength left his fragile body
and he lost the fight in life so coy,
yet on his knees he conquered agony
and I call him the little soldier boy.
You asked me to forgive you
Still you would cause me pain again
Your words rained down like daggers
Soaking my soul with so much pain
I know i was taught to forgive
It became harder every day
All the ways you had to hurt me
I was the game you loved to play
You had quite an imagination
The ways you would describe my demise
Thankfully I chose not to follow
Yours was a pathway paved with lies
In my mind I reinvented
Chose a future that was worthwhile
Yes I took a few steps backwards
Still moving forward all the while
As the gap between us lengthened
God took my heart and made it whole
Yes beginnings are important
I learned forgiveness plays a role
It was not so much about you
Or all the things that you had done
My healing could not be complete
Without knowing God's only Son
There is light beyond the darkness
Perhaps one day I will see your face
I hope you asked God for forgiveness
Your sins will be gone without a trace
If my Savior can forgive you
The way he has forgiven me
There is more to who you were
Than what I was able to see
I forgive you dad
My affirmation deceitfully severed
forever robbed by selfishness
Left to tackle life alone
Tumbling in the wake of my dad's mess
He left when I was three
The crevasse has increased for 33 years
Traded his life with us
For another woman and a couple of beers
He wasn't there to pick me up
When I fell off of my bike
To teach me how to fish
Or enjoy a nature hike
Now I'm a father to my son
Hoping not to make the same mistake
Living day to day on this lake of life
My son in tow through my own wake
It's been nine years and we're going strong
Six more years with my son
That's more with him than I had with mine
My son I guard in a web I've spun
A web of love, discipline, and nurture
Full of "I love you's" and "see ya in the morning"
A kiss before school and one before bed
Lots of playing, talking, reading, and singing
My son doesn't know the pain I feel
To not know my dad in intimate ways
No hands to comfort me or words to heal
No dad in sight for 12,045 days.............................(and counting)
My son and I have a great relationship and for this I am thankful......
That's not my elephant! my father said to me
Mine is pink with wings, funnily, he likes to eat spaghetti
I think I'll call him Ella, named after a girl I knew
We danced at the 2nd graders ball, her dress was so see through
My father was once a politician, until his marbles began to set
I visit him as often as I can, introducing as if we'd just met
But somewhere in his confusion, he can recite The Bill of Rights
And once he does he smiles, to me he can still delight
As I turn to leave, to wave goodbye, in his eyes I see a tear
Still reciting The Bill of Rights, smiling from ear to ear
With Ella from the 2nd graders, he smiles in self triumphant
As he points towards the window, it's not pink, that's not my elephant!
Being the shortest in my high school gym class
Attempts to play basketball brought no success
Broke my finger while trying to catch a pass
Leaping to take balls from tall girls? What a mess!
Always loved football, baseball and soccer too
But in basketball I succumbed to defeat
Just couldn’t get into it, that is true
Till Dad took me to see the Miami Heat
Startled he was, watching me jump up and down
Although my enthusiasm was contrived
The cheers of other fans my loud voice did drown
This was the last time I saw my Dad alive
I’m so thankful now that I went to that game
Dad was so grateful for these moments we shared
When I watch basketball now, it’s not the same
It was Dad and not the sport for which I cared
*Entry for Deb’s “Play Ball” contest
I dreamt my father came to me
From beyond the grave words spoken
He held my hand and said to me
Your life cycle has broken
Mom sent me here to fetch you
And take you home to heaven
I rejoiced and hugged my Dad
Eager to see my late folks and husband
But before I could get dressed to leave
My father had departed
Does he still wait to take me home?
Answer, Dad, I'm broken hearted
To join all my loved ones in the afterlife
Brings great joy to me, no fear
So I will sleep lightly again tonight
In hopes Dad will reappear
*Entry for the "Dream Land" contest. (Based on a real dream.)
When I look into your eyes
I see right through
To the back of your mind
What’s bothering you
Everyday you carry guilt
Never bother to pick up the phone
Just to straighten it out
But it seems you want to be alone
You say you want to make up
The lost birthdays and years
For destroying our family
For the dreaded tears
Over a year no letter in the mail
Over year there’s no call
Over a year no sign of life
Over the years you never cared at all
You only want to get it out
Just so you don’t feel bad
Only for your benefit
So your life is no longer sad
Y say you want to be close again
By buying me anything I desire
But love you can’t buy
So all you are is a liar
I know you have regrets
But you’ll eventually pay
You might be happy again
When you grow up one day
You let the pain stand in your way
You tried to block us out
But you only put distance between us
Now your own kids you know nothing about
You never know what to say
Being selfish and covering up the pain
Never saw what it did to us
Tired of losing now you want to gain
Over the years I forgot how you hurt me
I forgot to call you dad
I forgot you all in all
I forgot everything bad
Sore to the bone
Running on a drop of energy
Just gotta push through
I'll rest eventually
My shoulder has gone numb
But my body feels her weight
As if she's gotten heavy
Since her unconscious state
If I could, I'd stop right now
But who knows how safe it is here
And if I could even start again
I may fall asleep I fear
Soon my body will give up
But I'll make it as far as I can
And hopefully haven isn't too far
And I can put her in helping hands
Walking all day and night
It's hard not to think on past
And any thought I come up with
Has me struggling to hold sobs back
I've kept my ears open
Trying to focus on only sounds
But all I keep on hearing
Is my shoes crunch on foreign grounds
Bang. I hear it softly.
So far but still so near.
Bang. Another gunshot sounds
And I've collapsed in fear.
I close my eyes but another goes off
This time in a memory
And now I'm filled with rage
At how repulsive humans can be
My thoughts turn to my baby
Slipping off of my shoulder
I set her down and examine her
Bloodstained gown and skin colder
My worst nightmare but it can't be true
I listen in for her sweet breath
No. No No. No No. No No.
What's this silence? This isn't death.
This time I don't close my eyes
I see a sight that makes me sob
Memory of the last I saw my wife
And now my baby's with her mom.
Each one of us left covered in crimson
By a monster, a gunshot, a blow
Their death is the death of me.
This is as far as I can go.
Inspired by Morris Gleitzman's novel "Once," a historical fiction about a boy in Poland
during the Holocaust.
The last great snowflake standing
Little snowflakes fell swiftly
All around the house they fell
Eight male flakes_three little girls
House was lively in winter
As they all warmed by the fire
Boys' boistour tales, girls brush long hair
Then silence all rested heads
At four A.M. each morn_chores
Breakfast, lunch packed off to school
Walking that long mile was rule
School was important dad said
Soon the oldest snowflake wed
As life goes all followed him
Leaving the warm hearth behind
Some of them to produce twins
As life goes_death visited
All their humble doors sadness
Some had children die at birth
And some at very young age
What they saw in their lifetime
Changes that took place_cars_planes
Atom bomb that ended war
None their warm family disgraced
Death started visiting doors
One above middle went home first
Then slowly they all went home
But dad was the last snowflake
In the darkening room I stood:
tears welling in my eyes:
by the windowed-wall, looking out,
my small chest full of sighs.
Headlights bright white and tail lights red,
paired, meandered down the street,
yet the white headlights that I sought
seemed only to retreat.
Cold, calm, singular, tear drops fell,
soon reaching down turned lips;
as in the house across the street,
the living room was lit.
A Father held his baby high.
He hugged that toddler tight.
I wiped the corner of my eye,
and gazed into the night.
Above the darkened woodland near,
beneath a cobalt sky;
the highway brought their Fathers home.
alone again stood I.
Horns blared out in drives near by
sweet laughter filled the air,
and, in the drive across the street,
their Fathers did appear.
The children ran out slamming doors,
on small unshodden feet,
with tiny squeals, and upturned cheeks,
their Father they did greet.
Where was the father who I sought
our lives incomplete
a traveling man, my Father
did nothing but retreat.
*A memory from when I was 8.