Wednesday, June 17, 2009


A three year self-imposed
exile was all that stood between
pigheaded me and my stubborn father.
The circumstances of my departure were childish
and at forty seven years of age, most regrettable.

Here's my dad, my namesake,
languishing in a personal hell
that was part an act of God and
part of his own doing. A self-destructive
myopia through the smokiness of a brown bottle.

His alcoholism
went further than the
debilitating headache he
would suffer through the next
morning, as if nothing ever happened.

It eroded his self-esteem,
it presented his liver with a fine
cirrhosis, the ravages of addiction that
tormented my mother and put we six in the line
of fire, force to choose between the two, always,

defaulting to the defense
and aid of a mother who was in a
steady retreat to oblivion herself,
due to HBP, far too many cigarettes, and
just enough of my father's bullshit to keep her.

The toll on the family
is always the after thought,
never the rule. For entering the
gates of hell, he had left the portal
open for a sister, a brother and myself

to enter unencumbered.
Sobriety came as a blessing
to me, a matter of course for my
brother, and an ongoing battle for my
sweet sister. It was just survival for Dad.

For his cirrhosis
presented the opportunity
for a ravenous cancer to devour
all he had left. It foisted upon him
a sobering clarity to the damages done.

Not just to himself,
but to the children who
remained to care for him in
his last dying months. It was
what prompted my return. Looking

into the eyes of my father,
my mentor and hero, my teacher
and my friend, all past indiscretions
found their forgiveness, not in a tearful
plea or a heartfelt soul search, it came in

just that look.
no words spoken, no
apologies given/accepted,
an understanding, nothing more.
A inward smile and a quite nod. We,

my father and I,
made our peace; buried
our personal hatchets and
gave his tired and consuming
guilt nowhere else to hang its hat.

That prescient moment
between stubborn father and
pigheaded son made us feel like a
million dollars. But for his short time
remaining, it was worth ten times as much.