Poetry Arrived In Search Of Me
Y fue a esa edad...Llego la poesia a buscarme. -Pablo Neruda

My Father's Hats

Friday, November 11, 2005

You play this game slowly before falling asleep.
Each tries to make the softest, barely audible sound,
And it is about all that you could never say.

Next to a person you love, face up to face,
Start audibly at first, the sound’s made with your tongue.
You play this game slowly before falling asleep.

The room is swallowed in darkness, but what lies beneath?
Quietly above, the vault of stars moves round,
And it is about all that you could never say.

You held her, said you loved her, but she walked away;
Outside stones lie buried deep beneath snow.
You play this game slowly before falling asleep.

Whatever does not occur is yours, forever, to keep.
The stars are no one’s mirror. Say window, say home,
And it is about all that you could never say.

Listen long enough and what was color becomes sound.
Against the enormous dark, her small face remains blonde.
You play this game slowly before falling asleep,
And it is about all that you could never say.

-Mark Irwin

It's a strange fact of life that most conversations consist of talk of the weather and other trivialities. We will spend hours discussing exactly what went on in last night's game, but somehow the most important things, the stuff that really counts, can never find a voice. We are all so terrified of gambling and getting hurt or hurting someone else, even as we recognize that the only things that really matter are the risky propositions. I, who am pretty brave in most of my life, am particularly guilty of this. For someone so loud and boisterous, I break easily and have learned to bubble wrap my speech and emotion so that others can play nicely with it. I also tend to be as gentle with others as I'd like them to be with me, and this leads to even less being said.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my parents. During one of the worst weekends of my life (such a bad story for so many reasons), I informed my mother that my father was probably cheating on her. It turned out that, yeah, he was. I was pretty angry with him for a very long time. He was the person I trusted the most in my life, the person who'd taught me everything I know about how to be kind and love someone, and I couldn't handle the fact that he had betrayed our entire family. I was distant. I was pissed. And I was so very mean. I had never been any of these things with my dad before.

They're still together, so things worked out. Except for the fact that they really didn't. I love my mother to death, but she has never made that an easy task. When I told my brother what had happened, he paused for a second and then commented, "Well, I mean, you kind of can't blame him." That sentiment was echoed by more than a couple of people during the whole process, rightfully so. I know now how selfish I was. How all I could think of was how he had done this to her, to us. I never once thought about what extreme needs would make him violate his overdeveloped sense of morals. I knew he'd been so unhappy for so long, and yet that didn't once dent my self-righteous outrage.

Now I wish I could talk to him. I would tell him that I want to do it all over. For every long distance call to see how she was doing, I would make one to him. For every assurance that her family loved her, that we were here for her, I would make one to him, too. I want us to get drunk so I finally have the courage to say: You don't love her. Leave her. Have the courage to be happy, and I swear I will be there for you every step of the way. I know you were scared of losing us, but you won't.

But how can I ask him to have the courage to leave, when I don't even have the courage to give him the words that might make it easier?
10:05 AM :: ::
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