Saturday, October 6, 2012

Like A Bad Dream

Last night
I dared to dream
about your father

I conjured him up
from the depths of
my little boy soul
from memories
of childhood
run amok
a recall
long suppressed

I saw him
as he once was
in all his glory
muscles rippling
golden haired
blue eyed
more than angry

His blood
was boiling over
the steam pouring
out of his nostrils
like some ancient
greek god of yore
and he was taking out
his anger
his rage
on all of us
on you and me and
your mother
but mostly
and most brutally
on you!

We who saw
We who knew
We who were witnesses
could only
stand by the wayside
helpless and afraid
afraid and helpless
as he began to
decimate his car
having taken umbrage
at some casual remark or
poorly timed jest
or just because
he was pissed off
at the whole world for
a hundred different
reasons of his own

We stood by
and watched
mute witnesses
as he literally
ripped apart
the car
piece by piece
with his bare hands
bloodied though they were
and we who saw
were afraid
(as he wanted us to be)
afraid of what he might yet do
afraid of what might yet happen

He had no right
to do what he did
to you
He had no right
to wreck havoc on
his own baby girl
his own child
his own flesh and blood
He had no right
While the rest of us
could only stand by
like deaf dumb mutes
lest he turn his anger
against us
(as he so often did)
though it was
our sorry fate
to have to love him
for all his failings
(and they were many)

But he had no right
to do what he did to you
in the fullness of your innocence
in the flowering of
your early womanhood
in the hope and splendor
of your youth

And though in my dream
it was the car that
received the brunt of his rage
I somehow knew
that the car
in the dream
was really you
(and all of us)
and all we could do
was to watch and wait
and to bear witness
until the storm
eventually ran its course
and we could once
again be ourselves
knowing full well that
his terrible secrets
had now become
our terrible secrets
adding new bones to
the rattling skeletons
in our already full
collective family closet

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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