Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One year later...

It's been one year since my father passed and there's still more work to be done. I didn't make a big fuss about this yesterday when I was over at Mom's because it would only turn her into a wreck. She's got a hair trigger when it comes to that and she's had a tough enough time. I just gave her an extra big hug and left it at that. Better to see her with her "big kid smile" than pull a dark veil over her. And I hate grief-mongering.

Things were a bit complicated between me and my father. I'll just say it: I was a whiny coward and he could be a real jerk at times. Neither of us saw it that way though. There were good lessons I learned and some things that didn't go so well. We each insisted we knew the best way to get things done but there really was a lot neither of us had figured out to be honest. There was a lot we could have been better at together.

Whether or not I ever become a father myself, I'll keep recording these lessons for my nephews. The key lesson is the same one I stated last year: Talk to your children and encourage them to ask questions. Don't leave things unsaid and assumed. Participate in what matters to your family and loved ones and they will learn in kind what is important to you. Do more than be there at the "important times", because every moment is important.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away