The old man

Was not a natural teacher
he’d want me to help
& you know how it is
with kids
no clue
no idea
no frame of reference
he’d sit me in the drivers seat
point to a pedal
& say:
when I say push
push it down
when I say hold
hold it down
& I’d do my best
to be holding the wheel
to be helping my dad
he’d get angry

I wouldn’t push enough
hold at the right time
would mishear
would lose attention
he’d shout
so I’d get flustered
I was helping
& that helping
was not good enough
I’d run away
to go play
away from his attention
not badness
on either part
we just didn’t get
each other
never did
all I wanted back then
was to climb a few trees
ride my bike
hang around with friends
kiss the girls
I had no frame of reference
for the world
of pushing levers
do this
do that
I wanted to write
rather be in
that world
familiar to him
I tried it
had bosses
same disappointment
on me
in their
needing senseless things
what they didn’t get
I’d been inoculated
by my old man
in the ways
of disappointment
& after that
I’d learned
the only way
is to do what you
need to do
to make yourself


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