2 poems by David L O’Nan about my father’s battle with ALS in 2016

The Courage Rhapsody (for my Father)

Silence
A cold breath mantra
Holidays voided by the entrapment of the body
Can't escape the seizing
The brittle bites
My bones palpitate
Lost my nerves,
And the Winter took my shield
My energy, 
my guiding hand,
My memories,
I can only feel with my dream fog.
In my  mind, 
I still have that
I still have my love
Through all the night sweats,
Reminiscing when I was a stronger man,
A man with bravery,
Or the facade of
A man who could fight
Through the fires with the strength of tangled jungle wires.
I was easily scared, 
but nobody knew
Because it was safer to hide a heart of scars
Inside this chest,
I gave my soul to be caressed by the hope that is God's word
Now I am a man,
Not just your past
But your future and in your cognizance.
Remember me as a man, a father,
And your laughter and tears.
We will not struggle with the tugging of life's heavy rock
We will lift it high, with our drums pounding.
Triumphant
Staring into black eyes.

Some Season Like Christmas

It was some season like Christmas
I was driving down Highway 41
Past unbalanced bridges,
Wanting to become one with the Ohio River.
To see my dying dad for the last time
I'm listening to "On a Faraway Beach" by Brian Eno.

As I drive by a blue brassiere in the middle of the street.
The drunk woman's last hurrah,
Before settling for frat guy factory dreams,
And having 6 children that hate them both -
despite having a good home design.

I am driving,
Even the farm cattle are under the mistletoe
Can't wait for the presents most think of
Honeybaked hams and peach pies
With their family drawn straight out of a 1960's J.C. Penney -
Christmas catalog for a new oven advertisement.

Well, for my drive is different
The snow that slightly comes down isn't pure white.
More grayish, almost Olive Green death.
Enough to slick a tire, 
But not enough to shake you from reality.
This is the drive of mania
A mania of tears, a depression, a stoic coolness,
a hate for the holidays.

All these icicles just look like razors
And then you get there,
V.A. Clinic in Onton, Kentucky.
He's barely there.
He has recent birthday gifts from 2 weeks prior.
An "early" Christmas gift or 2 as well.
A baseball cap he'll never get to wear,
and he can barely see you,
barely can hear you,
barely can talk beyond his disease to say
"I Love You Son"
An unfamiliar whispering
To a once deep voice.

I'm flashing back to myself watching him,
Play to his father (my grandfather) as he was passing
The old country music of Ernest Tubb.
Now, I am playing my father Wichita Lineman 
Glen Campbell, and then some Ol' Waylon too.
And we talk about the memories,
as I watch his eyes fade away.
We talk about our love of Kentucky basketball,
And he looks at me
Pale as pure snow
And barely muffles another

"I Love You Son"

Christmas Eve 2016. He went into a deep sleep soon after I left,
the next Christmas evening around 5 p.m. he passed.
And all I could hear about on social media was people's shock 
that George Michael passed.   It barely phased me at all that night.
I lost my father.  
I was left with many questions about this disease.
Peter L. O'Nan  (December 10, 1942 - December 25, 2016)
Dad in Air Force pictures in the 60’s

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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