::Literate Blather::
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Poem: Hello Daddy

By: John K. Callaghan

Hello Daddy,

Didn’t think of you once yesterday…
I invented the regift
from your presents,
that oversized crossed striped sweater
or cologne that reminded me of Saturday Night Fever.

I was always inaccessible
so my Mom left a message
at school to call.
"Your father is in the hospital
he has cancer and was given
three months to live."

Daddy I never owed you
a fucking thing.

Packed everything
into two cardboard boxes
and hopped the next
unforgiving Greyhound
for New York never to return to Florida.

Back at my mother's apartment
all I could think about
was buying a black suit
for your funeral.

The next day went to
Ann Marie’s house,
my hippy philosopher girlfriend,
to cop some pot
and have sex.

She never combed that
long wavy blond hair.
It had actually become

Alone at the country house
I got drunk on whatever
was in the liquor cabinet,
cleaned for hours
and took the bolts out
of the rifles.

My cousin Ray,
a stand up unimaginative guy,
took me to the hospital.
You looked OK and were
your usual self,
be home in two days.
For a moment we locked eyes
and a powerful silent sadness
passed between us.

On the way back
from the hospital
to Wolf Lake
you got nauseous.
Ray pulled over so you could
throw up then gave you
some gum.

I kept up with the house,
cleaning, cooking.
Went fishing…
cleaned and cooked them.

Ray’s only wife recently died,
a gorgeous woman, disordered,
severely claustrophobic,
she could not even ride in a car…
thought it was a coffin.
She desperately wanted
to be cremated
and Ray buried her.

Ray and I went to Monticello
to pick out a casket
and make the arrangements.
Dead before you’re gone.

The heat was turned up,
visible deterioration,
real pain, constipation,
time released drugs.

The public health nurse
told me it would be
rough going from
now on.

I found a way to double up
on your Demerol script,
popped them all night,
chain smoked, blew joints,
and drank pots of coffee.

Your mind degenerated quickly
from the morphine,
you told improbable
war stories, highly detailed,
and claimed there was
a mouse in your room.

Stoned out of my mind
we watched TV,
Nick at Nite,
Green Acres, Get Smart.
Your comments cracked
me up and I actually
had a good time
with you for a change.

You were going into
the stretch, black sores
in unspeakable places,
no eye contact,
just hot tea with
one ice cube.

At night I had to tie you
into the bed or chair
with my Karate belt
and Kung Fu sash.

Nurses two times a day,
diapers, pain, odor,
that good man,
strong man
so way gone.

That last day the nurse
told me you would have
to be hospitalized soon
and I remembered again
you wanted to die in the
house you built
with dignity.

More Demerol more coffee
slamming my fists
into the kitchen floor,
biting my arm
crying to Shiva.
(Oh fuck there were times
I hated you!)

It’s either tonight or
the hospital tomorrow.

It’s tonight.

You were sleeping
or passed out.
I figured 20 ground up pills
of morphine
made into a thin paste
would take you out
quickly and painlessly.

I sucked up the mix
into a straw
opened your mouth
put it deep down your throat
and blew hard
worked your throat
till you swallowed.

You opened your eyes
and I said everything
would be fine soon,
I loved you.
Turned down the lights
and put on your favorite album,
Tony Mottola’s "Romantic Hits."

I left for a bit to have
a cigarette, painkiller,
and cup of coffee
screaming for understanding.

Will you die? Did I do it right?
I have to go back to hold you.
Everyone must be held
when they die.

Sounds in your lungs crackling,
chest heaving, sweat…
Don’t hang on you stubborn bastard!
In my arms a final long
breath out, your last, you die.

I glanced at the clock,
12.05 a.m., time of death,
then and only then I cried hard and long.

I laid you out like I pictured
a dead one should be,
face up, eyes closed,
palms crossed.

I put a holy Hindu shawl
over your corpse,
then chanted the
Guru Gita alongside
your death bed.

An hour later, out of my mind,
I passed out till six in the morning
then called the funeral home.
Pick him up now.
I pulled the shawl back and looked
at your dead body.
You were a thing and a dead thing.

Picked out a suit
put pictures of your parents
and Hindu saints
into the breast pocket.
They came soon and took
your body away.
I had no plans to attend
your wake or funeral.
My job was done.

Mad, numb, mixed up,
I walked three miles
through the woods
to a beautiful swamp
broken and blasted
by shrapnel…

I’m just the shrapnel.

Bye for now,

(John K. Callaghan lives in New York City, his hometown, also having lived in Hawaii, California, Washington, Wisconsin, and India where he worked as a sound engineer. He is currently at a large city hospital as a counselor in the psychiatric department.

During his formal education he was disappointed by the lack of depth or understanding of human nature by the main stream psychologists and took his cues from novelists and playwrights such as Charles Bukowski, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and Eugene O’Neill. He also finds inspiration from the music of Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Daniel Johnston.

John writes poetry in several styles but is most comfortable with the narrative form. He says, “Compared to relationships, all forms of learning shrink to insignificance.”)

Labels: ,

Stumble Upon Toolbar StumbleUpon | Digg! Digg | del.icio.us | Reddit | Technorati Technorati | E-mail a Link E-mail
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
The Template is generated via PsycHo and is Licensed.