Father's Day Poem (For Luis Ramon Arnau)

Poem By alexandre arnau

it's a warm sunday night
in puerto rico
and my father likes to
rub that in
he also likes to rub in
watching the girls surfing
while i watch the weeds grow
under pale pennsylvania skies

we never talked much
he is an old school
kind of guy
and i'm a new school dropp out
who writes better
than he speaks
but it's probably that
hispanic macho thing
i keep hearing about

what matters is
when we did talk
we listened

i'm not inclined
to tell you
that he is a great man
or a wise man
or an evil man
or a foolish man

he's better than that

he's a real man

the kind that lost his
temper at the worst times
and was prideful
to a fault at times
and thought himself too
important to lie to anyone
and was born poor
and humble
and became an educator
and wore suits
and remained humble
and never forgot his friends
even when they forgot him
and beat me when i needed it
and sometimes
when i didn't
and yelled at his wife
when things closed in around him
and always knew how to
make her laugh

he likes his watches
and his coffee
and a joint
now and then
he has been
a carpenter
a mechanic
a cabbie
a soldier
a fighter
a teacher
and a gentleman
even at his most
vulgar



if i had a hint
of the charisma he has
i would get more action
than hugh hefner
in his own bedroom



i never really knew
my grandfathers
only enough to know
that my own father
fought his hardest
not to be like his own
and that must count
for a great deal

i fight my hardest
to measure up to my own
for my daughter

my father
who always is honest
even if it means
being hated
and always has honor
even if it means
being seen as foolish

no
i won't say
he is a giant among men
just that he is
a light among shadows
always standing out
as much as he
doesn't want to
and always leading the way
in spite of himself

i have plans to
go visit my parents soon
i'll be taking my daughter
we'll sleep in hard beds
under mosquito nets
in sweltering heat
and the days will be
filled with folk music
and coffee and sunburns
and my father and i
will talk about my daughter
and her future
and the farm
and my mother's fibromyalgia
and my brothers
and the sun will fill the sky
with a brilliant setting drape
of gold and indigo
and we will light a joint
and sit in comfortable
silence
and know
each other
better

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