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Monday, July 09, 2012

No Better Than a Deadbeat Dad

“It’s tragic.”

Why?
Because he was following
his beautiful young wife
and kids home
from their weekend camping trip
on his motorcycle?

Why?
Because he just had
to do it?

He used to say,
“five minutes on this thing
is more alive
than most people know
in a lifetime.”

He lost his balance
and tried to lay
the bike down
as it slid out
from under him,

but the truck behind him
didn’t see
or couldn’t
react fast enough,

and then he was
just a crumpled
bloody mess.

And I’m supposed
to feel bad
and sorry
for the whole situation?

Bullshit.
Could’ve been avoided.

Listen,
when you become a husband
and then a father,
your life is no longer
your own.

You are the cornerstone
of the family,
the unseen provider
who’s supposed to make
it all look easy.

You don’t get to do
everything you want.

You don’t get
the privilege of racing your bike,
jumping out of airplanes,
or fucking all the women
you want,
because you’re supposed to be past
all that juvenile
macho bullshit.

You put on the ring,
and you make a deal,

and if you’re not going to respect that,
then don’t tell her
you love her.
Don’t impregnate her,
and then leave your kids
with unanswered questions
about the ghost
you’ll become.

You’ll be no better
than a Deadbeat Dad,
and twice as selfish.

And that life insurance policy
will be cold comfort
to your wife’s eternal loneliness,
as your son looks desperately
anywhere
for your
absent approval

and someone
who is not you
walks your daughter
down the aisle.

(For #OpenLinkNight at http://dversepoets.com/ - come in and play!)

48 comments:

  1. Yes!and YES! Wise words from a wise man!

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  2. Thanks, it's not really a poem as much as a plea.

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  3. dang...way to bring the double barrels today...speak it hard...the next gen def needs to hear it...he has just robbed his family for sure...i feel for the son that grows up without a dad....

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    1. Thanks bro. I see too many selfish, narcissistic parents who think of their children as accessories to their fun lifestyle. I tell my son "See Jesus dying on the cross? He's doing what a man does, self-sacrifice for others." I'm a little torn though about appearing to kick this family when they're down.

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  4. Yes, I agree. When you marry and then have kids, your life is not your own anymore. A first responsibility is to your spouse and children. I know we all still have to have our own space, do our own thing but, parents need to think of others first before their own wants. But, I also guess that what is meant to be, will be.
    Powerful write which hits home hard, excactly as it's meant to.

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  5. tough words today mosk.. i'm a bit split.. yeah...i agree with you...there are things you def. have to give up once you're a family man, that's for sure.. is riding a motor bike one of it? wouldn't he be as "dead" for the fam when he had given up the one thing that makes him feel so alive?

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    1. Thanks Claudia, I'm really split too as I know I wouldn't want to inflict more damage on a grieving family, but come on, find a less risky way to get your kicks. Or risk creating the scene here. Mostly a cautionary tale.

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  6. Wow... powerful, Mosk! So sad about the tragedy, but everything you say is true. Some have a harder time growing up than others.

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    1. Thanks, Laurie. I wasn't the most risky guy in the world and when I became Pop-o I upped the risk-adverse ante.

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  7. Wow, Mosk. Powerful, powerful stuff. Excellent.

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    1. Thank you, Ms De. Don't encourage me to get on my high horse so often. I'll become more insufferable, if that's possible.

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  8. harsh words, but spot on. Damn good stuff this is.

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  9. Accidents happen. I don't think being a dad means you can't do things that are enjoyable or even risky sometimes. Life is a risk. I agree there are some things that people should give up when they make commitments or have children, but there is always some risk in life.

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    1. That's true. However, when you have a spouse or especially little kids, I say, you put them first. Yes, avoiding risk is impossible, but you don't have to put yourself in dangerous, risky situations now. Wait until your selfish risky behavior won't scar your kids forever, that's all I'm saying.

      And I *am* saying that being a dad means you can't do certain things that are enjoyable. It's part of the package. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I appreciate them, Mosk

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  10. tell 'em, Mosk. so much wisdom in these poemonologues of yours. the last lines are wrenching especially.

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    1. Thank you Joanna. These are mostly rehearsals for speeches I will maybe give to my son, if needed.

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  11. A vicious wake up that demands we mould our lives into the choices we have made! A bit like "tough love" that has all the right reasons!

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    1. Thanks Gemma, It it always gratifying to get praise from a WiseMan. :)

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  12. Wow this is great. Made my throat Hurt and at the same time I'm thinking-- if only all men felt that way. It's genius and so genuine and with that old-school approach and that's as it should be. Love it

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  13. This is such a beautiful expression of a true father. A true man. Incredible and do beautiful. How insightful and compassionate. Made my throat hurt!

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  14. ok this is my fourth time commenting as it keeps erasing (my own fault), but anyways, this poem made my throat hurt. It's such a true, brutally honest portrait of what it takes to be a father, what fathers (real men) do and sacrifice and love. Beautiful write. I love love love it

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    1. Thanks Amy Jo, for your kind comment and for your persistence! For as progressive and liberal as I am in my political causes, in my personal life, I tend to be conservative on the whole "Fathers need to be there for their children" line. I don't consider this a poem as much as a warning.

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  15. True! When you have children and a family your life is not your own to do as you please! Good piece!

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  16. heavy and honest... truth is like that.

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    1. That's me on a good day: heavy and honest! Thanks!

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  17. I so admire the stand you've taken here. It speaks to the very heart of what it means to live responsibly. And it echoes one of my pet peeves about astronauts who have wives and young children.

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    1. Thanks, and I don't even have so much a problem of a father doing a risky job (that's what men do), but when it's a risky leisure time activity, then I get angry.

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  18. I can think of so many ways people are thoughtless, irresponsible and selfish. Sadly, these people don't see themselves that way so often our cautionary tales go right over their heads and the innocent suffer.

    As always, you write straight as an arrow....with heart. xo

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    1. Thanks Zouxzoux, I think of it as a cautionary tale as well.

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  19. My favorite lines:

    and then leave your kids
    with unanswered questions
    about the ghost
    you’ll become.

    So true.

    <3 Paula

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  20. Wow, this is pretty intense!! Good point made. Even the bikers I've known, none of them daredevils by any stretch, have all seemed to have had at least one close call. Fortunately for me, my husband is not a biker nor has ever had the urge. If growing up with the traffic on L.I. wasn't enough of a deterrent, a family friend was killed on his motorcycle in his early 20's. While I don't judge those who love riding, am glad in our house it is one less thing to worry about. Great write, Mosk.

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    1. Thanks Ginny. My 20 year old son is a sport racer and I hate it. He thinks he can handle anything. A month and a half into his bike, he got into a wreck, and fortunately, it wasn't bad. However, he sees it as a badge of honor, and I'm afraid he's going to take more foolish risks now. I say lots of prayers.

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  21. Now, I hear this, I really do. I think it's the voice of common-sense and all that. And I think it's right, but I also think that people have to find a way to hold on to their souls, who are we to judge? It's a fine line indeed, and idiotic risk is to be laughed at, no doubt, ut take the risk out of life and what do you have? Anyway, as usual, you lay it down and I like what you say, even with my quibbles.

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    1. Thanks for the quibble, because I kind of felt like a prick writing this: you know, kicking these people when they're down. Still, I know you can't take the risk out of life, and wouldn't want to, but it's the stupid, arguably nonessential risks I argue with. But that's me being the ruler of the world. Again, thanks for your thoughtful comment, Mosk

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  22. Wow! A powerful punch here, Mosk! and you are not taking any prisoners are you! Something that has to be said, and you said it oh so well. Good on you!

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    1. Thanks, and this is based on a situation that just happened, so I am now so sad for this family. Send a prayer if you so desire.

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  23. Prayers to the family and for all who take on the responsibility of parenting.

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  24. A powerful and unified poem from someone who knows where his priorities are. Raising children is an important ministry, and both parents ideally wish to be present, and therefore eliminate needless risk in their lives. You have me thus far.

    So do we make certain sports and hobbies and jobs for only single people? In the army, in the firehouse, in the police car, and lately in the classroom, and more, and more. And this is only in the USA--where both parents now have to work to maintain a life style that one could earn before the 1970s. Living a simpler lifestyle is the most obvious answer.

    Anyway, both of my brothers--each with two children--have bikes and cycles and guns and other means of pleasure and safety (for their wives too) that make me want to hide in the fireplace, but I do not. I take risks they would never take like being in print, protesting, walking without a cell-phone. I had better stop ranting, huh?

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    1. I like your ranting. I just want the men who are like little boys to grow up and become serious when they're fathers. Don't take unnecessary risks and deprive your own sons of your presence. Just don't be a risk-taking fool. Thanks for your kind words.

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  25. Holy crap. You really laid it on the line. I, too, am frustrated by overgrown kids, some with a goodly amount of grey hair, tooling around on bikes and four-wheelers... food for thought for any father. The last line killed me. My bro-in-law died from self abusing in the form of yoyo dieting, pot, coke, you name it. I could never understand that... he was 36 and his boys grew up with no real role model. They are screwed up as a result... Sad but true, powerful, brudda mine! Ameleh

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    1. Thanks Ameleh, Hey, I waited good and long before I had kids - kids change the whole game- just like getting married changes the whole game a different way. Love to my sistah from anudda mistah, Mosk

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  26. This is so strange...I was having this very same conversation with a friend on Sunday ...he being the one that was riding a cycle when he almost lost his life...his stance is that it was the most selfish thing he ever did...
    Family's need both parents ...weather together or not. I have two children and my behavior is apropriate to that...but I had a lot of growing up to do to get to that point...

    Wander

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  27. powerful stuff.
    ...peeking out from under this however, is this...no matter how much you love your kids, all of you will die. And everyone - no Romeo and Juliet - will do so alone.
    ...and so...yes...we give our lives for the people we love...we gift them power over what we do...but we cannot demand, nor surrender, freedom.

    Made me react this...sure did.

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