Our Fathers’ Burden

I can see their
Streets so slick

Smell the grease
Rubbed between
Each palm

As it makes
For a fine
Concoction

To lift thick hair
With a quiff

As they sit outside
Waiting for passage

To the bakeries
And bars
Of their forebears

Leaning on walls
In old leather

Jackets held tight
With both hands

As the night
Grows brighter
From waiting

For these building signs
To turn neon

And glow
Like triumphs
Still looming

As they step
Into shadows
Beneath.

Coffee cups
Reaching their lips

Cigarette sparks
On their fingers

Pizzerias
Filled with laughter

Of men whose time
We can’t know

Or imagine right
In its place

Fathoming
A deadly
Habit

When equal
Lies
Were just pleasures

Of that blissful
Crime
They call youth.

Dawdling
As kids will do

Down blocks
Whose homes
Remain lighted

Where the smell
Of red wine
Permeates

Mingling
Often with garlic

Dispersed
Among flickering
Pictures

Caught
By the living room
Walls

While the analog set
Murmurs static

And yells escape
From the kitchen

Bouncing off
Plastic tablecloths

And fine china
Used
Only once.

The rugs so torn
From their feet

And halls too crude
For those pictures

Of saints
And ornaments
Special

Near a plaque
Whose Christ
Is sad

Above
What family sits

Picking up
Fear
By its bootstraps

Believing strength
Their aggression

And bravado
Permanent faith.

To us
That’s old
And wrong

Medieval
Almost as courage

But then
It was right
For endurance

Using pain
Toward achieving
Their goals –

A wife
And child
Ignored

Words
So cold
They were whispered

Or hollered
Louder than feelings

Suppressed
For the burden at hand

During evenings
Out
With the guys

Forgetting
Work was their sentence

And heart attacks
Mission accomplished

To lift
Such bricks
Like they’re stones.

– J. Pigno

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s