Saturday, April 08, 2006

Found an old notebook of my father's

Cleaning up a bit this morning, looking for some document to finally complete the paperwork and filings for my father's remaining few leavings, I came across an old notebook of his, hand written, April-May 1970. He was just shy of thirty-five. Today I am thirty-eight. My life is different, I am sure. But I am not quite sure how.

One of these days (perhaps I shouldn't say it that way, it sounds like I'll never do it)... I should find the time and energy to compile his writings, edit them, and write a reminiscence. He was a good man.

Late in life he taught me that our primary choice is whether or not we will be good; history alone decides if we are great. Why would he give me this advice? Because he suffered a contagious malady that lends its patients a drive to accomplish great things.

I will edit his work and write the reminiscence, some day, because he deserves it. Here are the first words that appear in the notebook:
We see each other now
through a patina of days piled one upon another,
less bright, more rich,
like layers of wax that yellow on the floor.

patina of days
like wax that yellows on the floor.

The night is not as young as it used to be.
My father once wrote a poem about looking in the mirror and seeing his father there. I do not see my father's face in the mirror. But I often see myself in his words.

Sometimes I'm Convinced of My Own Greatness

Sometimes I'm convinced of my own greatness,
Convinced there's a real hard core of greatness in me
and that I'll someday discover the way
to let it burst loose and sprinkle down all over the world

Like silver tinsel on a christmas tree,
Haphazardly tossed,
Accidentally lying there among the green needles,
Brightening things up in incandescent reflection.

sometimes i feel inadequate even to piss straight
into the toilet bowl
without dripping a few drops onto the octagonal
black and white tiled floor
even if the bowl filled the whole room
sometimes i feel so inadequate i'm sure i'd find
a way to drip piss someplace it's not supposed to be
no matter what
or get flushed down the enormous bowl
lodge in the pipes
and make the pissy water flood the whole fucking floor
every fucking floor in the whole fucking house.

Empire State Building.


WhyCali? said...

Wow! I can't wait to hear more of what he wrote.

YelloCello said...

That is a pretty fascinating discovery... to find poetry by one's parents. I had a similar experience with some of my grandfather's writing. It was strange, illuminating, and also endearing (in a never-could-speak-it way) to read the words he wrote as a young man.

YelloCello said...

p.s. A few days ago, I tried to post on your other blog to compliment the new site. But my comments wouldn't "stick" for some reason.

ArticulateDad said...

I'm working on it, WhyCali? Maybe I'll start a separate blog dedicated to his writings.

YC, actually my dad was an aspiring writer, and an avid poet for much of his life. That these things existed is no surprise... but much of it I've never read. Reflecting on his words now that I'm a father in my thirties, reading his words from his own life at this same stage, it's quite... I don't know how to describe it. It's like becoming friends with my father thirty years ago.