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)
Available Now: Before I Turn Into Gold Inspired by Leonard Cohen Anthology by David L O’Nan & Contributors w/art by Geoffrey Wren
Bending Rivers: The Poetry & Stories of David L O’Nan out now!
Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.
Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Anthology available today!
Poetry from David L O’Nan in the Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers