George’s Poem

George

I don’t have a lot of things that belonged to my father, which is a longer story for another time. But I do have a few things that belonged to him that I’ve managed to hold on to, through the 15 years since his death, and probably as many places I have lived since then. My Dad only had a 10th grade education. He got expelled for punching his gym coach in the face (he was a boxer, so that probably didn’t go to well for the coach). When they tried to get him back into school afterwards, he refused. But he had an appreciation for logic and beauty in life that lack of a formal education in life didn’t stop. He was a bit of a poet, though I didn’t really know it until I found a notebook of some of his poetry after his death.

The process of deep cleaning my apartment to rid it of things that no longer belong in my life the way that it is now continues. Tonight I threw out a box of stuff I came upon in my cleaning that made me sad to look through; symbols of failure and futile efforts that made me angry and sad and tired and scared, all at once. I also found a plain box and couldn’t remember what was in it. I opened the dusty lid.

I remembered when I opened it. Before my grandmother was threatened into no longer talking to me after my Dad died, she gave me this box. It has a few photos of me and my sister when we were young, and several of my Dad when he was a little boy or a young man, one of which I’ve posted here. I found something I don’t remember reading before. Apparently my Dad won a contest to get a poem published in some quarterly newsletter his job published (he worked at the local telephone company), and won some kind of savings bond for it. There’s a cover memo congratulating him, saying a form was enclosed for him to fill out so they could send him the bond. Pretty cool; Dad was a published author, too.

My Dad was a flawed human, as are we all, and I wrestle with the fact a lot of what and who I am comes from him. But he was my fiercest protector. Sometimes I really wish he was around, when I feel like I need a logical, analytical mind with a secretly delicate heart to advise me and guide me. In that spirit, tonight’s post includes George’s winning poem, “Sometimes In the Mornings.”

Sometimes in the mornings
I stop for coffee.

Grim little restaurants
Still fighting the night
With too much light.

People coming in on their
Way to work.
Or away from it.
Trying to add something personal
To the monotony that faces them.
Even those who will be bored
And yawning by ten o’clock,
Are busy and important now.

The business people;
With the flowery after shave,
Or last year’s dress that
Don’t fit too good this year.

The uniformed workers;
Those with the sharp creases
In the wrong places,
Fresh from the laundry bag.
And the others who won’t
Get theirs until tomorrow.

Mostly lonely people,
Looking for something
To add meaning to it all.
Proving, perhaps, that they
Have the right to do what they want.
For awhile, anyway.

I’d stop and watch them some more,
Except that I must hurry,
Or I’ll be late…

For
Work.

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