Tag Archives: father and son

Note to a 12 year old

for Alex, who said he hates me

 

 

It weighs heavy on me,

the things that you say

when you’re angry.

 

How mean you get in a hurry.

How blurry your love seems

at times. Your tongue becomes poison;

betrays our lives together …

we’ve been just fine. But

at times like these, I’m lost.

 

It’s the cost of being your Father,

not your friend. I know.

For now at least, my love,

I will take your slings and arrows,

ignore the million cuts –

 

I’ll tend instead to other seeds

I’ve planted … and hope for you,

strong roots, water, air and plenty of room,

And of course, a great bloom.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2017. All rights reserved.

To my son, on searching for his wings

You know

the many reasons

that we named you Gabriel;

.

arriving in the world

when and how you did

according to a fashion

unguided by the stars

directed by the chances

of who and what we were

.

I know my story states

there is no grand designer,

there is no author penning

lines for you to say

there are no demons coming

or angels to save the day

.

and I cannot use the devil

or eternal damnation

to turn you away

from the “dark side”

… what they call temptation

.

now that you have

no use of a soul

or a search for salvation

to easily tell you

what’s wrong

and what’s right

.

now that you know

that we may be alone

in this corner

of space and time in the night

 .

now that you’ve learned

of the treasures we’ve earned

as social loners

making culture and learning to write

.

now you’ve been told

all the monsters before

were imagined and less deadly

than the monsters we know

.

now that I’ve shown you

in form and in poem

in lines and at home

through kindness

and failure and flaws

what little I know

of the nature of laws

.

I am sure you too

you will find yours.

.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.

Explaining gravity

“Why didn’t you use my computer

          while I was gone,” asks my oldest son,

“seems like common sense,” he implores,

          and perhaps it is.

.

He is older than his ten years and it’s getting harder

          to explain how things work in the universe.

I sit him down and remind him of the noise

          known as the deep field, the background

radiation left over from the Big Bang.

.

He knows this story,

          so I skip ahead and tell him again

how it takes a while for a star to burst

          for planets to form around the star

how long it takes for satellites or moons

          to form around planets

and how all this happens because

          stars are so dense they pull reality

towards them, around them

          until they have a million things circling …

.

“I couldn’t keep track today,”

          I tell my boy, “of this little asteroid you’re making”.

.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

Ending a conversation about opposites

 It begins shortly after I serve my two boys

a plate of white cookies and some chocolate milk,

while I’m dipping my burnt whole wheat crackers

 

(the English call Melba toast and sell to us suckers)

 

into chick peas I could have squashed myself,

 

(but purchased as hummus instead)

 

when the questions appear about opposites,

but quickly become infected with laughter

 

(in between chewing and kicking each other)

 

they spill silly pairs of the commonest things

and finally break all the rules of the logic

that makes any sense of the meaning of opposites

 

(Think of a bar room late in a shift)

 

when one of them questions that since it’s

okay to say you’re comparing apples

and oranges like they are unlike, then

surely there must be an opposite for ears?

 

Mouth I say, and tell them to finish their snack.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved

Robot inventory in the middle of serious writing

 In comes Alexander,

5, uninvited to my

office where I write

and where he’s

supposed to knock

instead of storming in

like his namesake would.

 

Want to hear about

my robots”, he asks

spilling a half dozen

mini sculptures made

of multi-colored legos.

 

Not right now, I said

and firmer than it sounds

on paper.

 

But he goes on

explaining that the

first one with wheels

is a rover meant

to explore the surface

and it sends back

information to

the second one with

panels that is an

orbiter which always

stays in space and

it, in turn, beams

down instructions

to the third robot,

a long spindly thing

that is a tower for sending

out directions to the

two battlebots,

clunky pieces that

look like squares with

blasters mounted.

 

I didn’t want to know

but now I’ve been taken in.

 

He animates the ones

he’s talked about

pretending that there

is some mission underway.

I can’t help but ask

what the last undefined

robot does or is.

Alex picks it up, the

most elaborate of the

bunch, it is made of

flat pieces with gold

extensions and tiny

white caps, resembling

an alien artifact and

asks me if I really like it

before explaining

that it’s art and it

does nothing at all.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

 

After Father’s Day

I helped my sons

a few weeks ago

make a card with

flowers cut from

colorful construction

paper and peppered

with pictures of

them being cute

as babies can be.

 

Today is supposed

to be my day

and I expect to

be doing many

more things to

show them how to

be good boys and

maybe great men.

 

There is no sunshine

again but the rain

has taken a break

when we go out

my boys and me

and start blowing

bubbles that last a

mighty long time.

 

We laugh when

they burst and marvel

at how big some get.

The little one likes

the dancing colors

on the skins,

the older one loves

splitting them in half.

 

A few bubbles dare

to land on the evergreens

that border our

house and stay long

enough for us to take

pictures that will

make great Christmas

cards this year.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

Yard work

 Half an hour now

I have been promising

to join my sons in

building a fort in the corner

of the yard.

 

This is Gabriel’s last summer

before he turns ten

and the fort is mostly

his idea, and he is

the most committed.

 

Alex, half his brother’s age,

is the “go-fer”

and when he has

no clear command

directs his attention

to fighting everything

he imagines is approaching

our retreat.

 

I gather arm length branches

and stack them to the side

to save my plastic rake from breaking.

I curse the ice storms

that crushed my plastic shed

by crashing icy pine hammers

down upon everything.

I want to pick through the debris

but I have mounds of leaves and

grass left from yesterday’s work

to cart away.

I pile it all on my

plastic blue tarp spread open

on my lawn.

 

My boys arrive to call again

           to join their game.

I show them the mighty dragon

I have slain.

All that’s left of it

are brittle twigs that once

were bones, and crunchy faded

leaves that covered

the beast, I explain.

I show them the orangy

pine needles that used to be

the dragon’s mane,

and pull out pine cones

as evidence of the deadly

teeth that threatened us all.

 

Alex can’t believe his luck and

stabs at the pile with his stick.

Gabriel knows this is a trick

and that he must now

help move the body.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

the words escape me

today the words

are not cooperating

it is like they are reverting

to their feral state

in my mind

they bite at their leashes

gnaw off their limbs

until they have chewed themselves free

of my memories

and run off into the darkness to hide

and wait in ambush until

i go hunting for them again

 

it has been like this lately

 

i have been pulling out old

photographs as evidence that

these words belong to me and

that we belong together

how well i had caged some of them

for so long that they died

when they escaped back into

the wilderness

 

the way my father became

just another man before he turned

into a stranger is the same way

that words end up dying —

     eaten by others bigger and hungrier

than memory

 

when i go hunting tonight

i’ll be covered in blood

hoping to be devoured myself.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.