Retirement Son Poems
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Lyrical On 44th Street
The argument started at the table
He was too soft,
too timid to quote Gable
She said ,"Your dreams aren't keeping the lights on.
If I see you writing again, your son and I will be gone."
He said, "I been writing this book for ten years.
I got a letter from the mayor. I won a certificate."
She said, "It's just paper. We can't eat it. It aint worth shit!
For six years you haven't been a father at all.
You got a son who can't even catch a damn ball.
You're worth a nickel as a husband.
As a father, not even a dime.
Where's a boy going in this world
Writing stories and rhymes?"
She tossed his unfinished poems on the kitchen floor
His bound manuscripts out the back door.
She said, "Horace, I'm warning you.
Get this work out the trash
You'll find a wedding ring in there too."
For three days those dreams festered in that trash
Covered with Pasta, cooking oil, Marinara sauce
Everything he had ever written was lost.
He watched the Sunny Hills Sanitation Company
Turn down 34th street and make a left at the corner.
One last time he tried to warn her.
He could barely hide his tears with his hands.
She said, "Now you can grow up and be a man."
Then that truck turned left on 35th street
Then it turned right
And just like those dreams, it disappeared from sight
Twenty years later
He sat in the Sunny Hills Convalescent home
Sick, lonely, old and alone
He couldn't even hold a pen
Or dial numbers on a phone
He had forgotten nearly every simile
Every rhyme and every metaphor.
And every few weeks the Reaper
Carried one of his friends out that door.
And though he couldn't remember
His favorite color or baseball team
The one thing he couldn't forget
Were those lyrical dreams.
In the dining room of the hospital he had a guest.
It took two nurses to get the feeble man dressed.
A nurse said, Mr. Horace, this is your son.
Twice he had to be reminded that he had one.
He tried to reply, but his words failed.
The young man said, "Dad, I have a writing degree.
I graduated with honors, from Yale.
But what the old man didn't know
Happened late in the night
Twenty years ago.
A young child
Went into that garbage can
Sorted through the pasta, salad, and uneaten bones.
And made those lyrical dreams his own.
And now those dreams live on.
Copyright © Poet M.e. | Year Posted 2016