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Friday, February 11, 2005

Confessions Of A Punk Rock Dad

It's amazing how many people see a man with two kids and think
he's just got them for a day; a couple of hours.

Little comments.

I hear them.

Like today, at the grocery store. I'm picking a few essential items up for dinner: gorgonzola cheese, white wine, beer, peppercorn sauce and Ricola cough drops.

I'm planning on stuffing the filet mignon I got last week when it was on sale with the cheese, and coat it with the peppercorn sauce. Serve it up with rice and steamed broccoli.

In line to check out, almost 2-yr.-old Cole starts fidgeting in my arms. He wants to slide my debit card through the machine. Arms are flailing. Legs whipping. I'm trying to get him to chill out.

Suddenly, an elder gentleman - white beard, balding - holds up Cole's little stuffed horsey, the comfort item he brings everywhere. And says, "Mom would have known what he needed."


Reminds me of the time I saw a woman at the park with her two kids, me with mine. "Must be nice," she said while watching me help Spencer onto the monkey bars. "To have a flexible schedule
that allows you to spend time with your kids."

Best was the time I was at Target, struggling to get the little monkies into their car seats when a mini van pulled up next to me. The woman got out of the driver's seat and slide the van door
open, still watching me wrestle the boys into their seats. She had one toddler and another on the way. "Is today 'Day With Daddy' day?" she asked.

"Everyday is 'Day With Daddy' day," I said.

Thirst For Verse

The sky yesterday was so striking: all Carolina blue and loaded with puffy ice cream coulds.

The kind of thing, I thought, that moves poets to write their verse.

I drove to the library to bury my head in the words of great
poets. But the selection of their collection was weak by my standards.

I sat in my truck looking at the sky, staring at a leaf less tree mulling over the fact that what I saw above me had moved me so much.

It's been over a decade since I wrote a decent poem.
Probably half as long since I had the thirst for verse.

By night's end, I had pulled the brown folder out of my desk drawer, the one marked O.P.P. (other people's poetry) and read the words of impassioned men, tired men, lonely men, drunk men.

I started with Berryman (first name John).
Moved on to Simic (first name Charles).
A little Williams (first name Miller),
some Flint (first name Roland),
and Stokesbury (first name Leon).

and I'm seeing things a little differently today.

Clock Watching

The clock over the sink in my kitchen is stuck.

Stuck on 8:45 am.

Second hand clicks forward, then back.

Jerking like a kid with Tourettes.

My 4-yr.-old Spencer is home sick with a cough.
His younger brother Cole seems to be developing the same
sneeze & wheeze symptoms.

I feel trapped. Stuck like the clock.
Like Bill Murray in GROUNDHOG DAY;
forced to live this moment for eternity.

I'm not going to change the battery just yet.
Let the timelessness of this torture drag on just
a little bit more.