Sunday, 4 September 2016

Twenty Days (a father's Day/ remembrance poem) by James WF Roberts

Twenty Days 
 (a father's Day/ remembrance poem)
by James WF Roberts

Twenty days
until another anniversary passes
twenty days
until I realise
how of us is different
how much of us is exactly the same?
no memories of life before that day,
no memories of what I should remember
glockenspiels and being out of time
vague memories of you teaching
me how to keep it.

Playing Vader’s theme
on your synthesiser when no-body was home
watching you play 1812 on the stage,
the music man,
the carnival, the fame
the whispers
that surround your name.

Small town legacy
a son—can’t live up to in glory
only ever in shame.
I grew a beard to hide your face
in the mirror
but it’ll only ever be the same.

What would life be like
if that day never came
would I still be the same?
forever searching
forever needing
always seeking fame.

Faith and religion
questioning every value
questioning the reason
you died,

the reason why I arrived?
When you were my age
I was born.
when you were my age,
and before,
you seen so much
of the world,
had made a name
be rewarded
found the love of your life
found the greatest person in the world
she became a mother and your wife
will she ever find the bliss she deserves?

All through school
always compared to you
I’m just a mediocre
middling wanna be
when it comes to you

But on this father’s day
I’m trying to remember your voice
trying to remember what your face really looked like
trying to remember anything at all.

I look at Oedpedial father son relationships
how can they hate each other so much?
don’t they know how g-d-damn lucky they are?
they still have each other?

And, I get to thinkin’
what would I be like as a father?
How do we be something you never had
or when you had it, didn’t appreciate it?

On this father’s day,
I still see you from behind
strange round man, legs like a spider
playing the pedals on the organ
playing an Elvis song

I am 34—never married
no children—that I know of
though the claim’s been made before
what will happen in six years time?

it’s only twenty days
until we remember
the worst day of my life
but strangely the best?
is that my defining memory
my drive, my obsession
trying to build a legacy?

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