3 December 2005 | Vol. 5, No. 4

The Secret Lives of Our Fathers

My wonderful father was having an affair

Which ended on January first two thousand one

When he had multiple strokes paralyzing

The entire left side of his body. She left him.

He has been hit by a train, totaled his car five times,

Nearly starved to death due to malnutrition,

Has had malignant cancer three times, has one lung,

And almost drowned to death on several occasions.

My dad told me there are only two reason to work hard: ego and fear of failure.

He was alive for the VJ day;

He remembers all the parades.

He was one of the first to see Pearl Harbor:

He saw with his own eyes the battleships,

Pride of the US Navy, belly-up in the waters.

He doesn't talk about flying a chopper in Vietnam,

But he cries when fireworks rain against an orange sky.

My pop was married to another woman who died

And cooked his meals in one big pot.

He routinely beat her for being such a whore.

My dad has an extensive collection of pornography in the garage labeled "Seafood."

My father takes regular trips to Thailand

To sleep with underage prostitutes.

I took my mother on his birthday to see A Beautiful Mind,

And she cried throughout the film.

When my father was alive, he was institutionalized

And looked just like a tortured John Nash

Visited by his wife between bouts of electroshock

Therapy, dressed in a dangling hospital gown.

My father was murdered by his mistress

With the claw end of his own hammer.

Sixteen years ago my father stuck his head

Inside the kitchen oven and turned on the gas.

The door was bolted shut and so they had to crawl

Through the ceiling vents to reach his dead body.

My dad always worked for himself and he did it damned hard.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Tony Evans at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 5, No. 4, where "The Secret Lives of Our Fathers" ran on December 3, 2005. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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