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Posts Tagged ‘father-son poetry’

for Gabriel, who is fourteen

.

Wrestling with you, nowadays,

both in spirit and in form,

reminds me how much you’ve grown.

When I brace myself,

my arms around you,

trying to hold you,

I can feel you breaking free.

I don’t know how much is me,

getting older and what is you,

growing stronger;

but it makes me think of Jacob

and the angel, in the end,

wishing the night could

be just an hour longer.

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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.

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“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.

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 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

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 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.

 

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Excuse me,

I’m a tiger

says my youngest son

crossing the kitchen.

 

He knows enough

to crouch low

and settles down

safely sitting behind

the breakfast table.

 

I flip the pancakes

as the bubbles pop

silently through the

hot batter sprinkled

with cinnamon that

fills the morning air.

 

Excuse me,

once again,

says the tiger,

but as you know

if you keep turning

your back to me

I will have to attack

because that’s

what tigers do.

 

I crack eggs

into a black skillet

and warn my son

that it’s dangerous

to fool around

when there are hot

things on the stove

and besides tigers

are afraid of fire.

 

He reminds me

that we have an

electric range that

makes heat but no

fire and besides

he wouldn’t have

to attack if breakfast

had been ready earlier.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

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In one day two icons are gone

I tell my son – the king of pop

and the queen of the pinup.

 

We stop for gas and I talk

to a lady filling up and

almost make her cry by reminding

her of song titles and

the single sequined glove.

 

I give her my copy of a “Best of” CD

I have in my car and tell her to play

#5 on her way home.

 

I promise her it will become her favorite

song from when he was really little

and beat James Brown at being James Brown –

before the moonwalk or the fun house mirrors –

when his voice was full of the same

fear and hunger that we all feel

in being little and wanting desperately

to understand love.

 

As we drive away my son asks me why I spoke

to a stranger and why I’d give her my disc.

I tell him I can get another copy, but that the lady

really needed to hear a good thing from her past

and that I’d show him my Farrah poster later.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

 

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