My Father Is Like America

He tried, is what I tell myself.

He was dealt a shitty hand in life,

he had a horrible, deadbeat father

and a crazy mother

and he had the best of intentions,

and he wanted to run away from his youth,

settle down early like people do

and my mom was running from her own youth

neither of them are to blame for winding up together

but they left bad weather for more storms

and he fought hard to conform

to those all-American norms

first a nice little house…

then a bigger house…

and it was never enough

and it was never good enough

and those long hours,

all that stress,

should equal a boat

and a house on the Cape

and maybe a goddamn trip to Florida for once

but instead, life seemed like a mess

work more and more

get paid less and less

and it took duct-tape

to hold it all together

and he began to realize

that he couldn’t weather this storm

couldn’t make it out of this tunnel

because there was no light

and he couldn’t see

that everything would be alright

without a boat

without Cape Cod

without Florida,

without toys,

without stuff,

without things,

but his was the mentality

capitalism brings about

and he grew too tired to fight

and he saw no way out

when he tried to do the math

and the dream still wasn’t adding up…

and he came undone

what, with mortgage after mortgage

and credit card after credit card

this warehouse manager at the lumberyard

who busted his ass for twenty-something years

began to sit on his ass every night

for twenty-something beers

and I had left home before he finally snapped

but my poor mother and brother

were trapped with that mess

and as I was learning to dress right, dress

my mom was looking for a way out

and about a year later she found it…

but I wasn’t around to hit him back

I was all caught up in

America under attack

and back then I still believed in America

and back then I still believed in him

because I though it was all just sink or swim,

all white and black, no grey

not today

today I’m on mom’s side

and today I cried for the literally millions who have died

because of America

and today I cried for my mother

because I see what he’s done

my father,


blaming everyone but himself for his problems

attacking the weak

like when I was just a little kid

and he’d beat me for swearing,

or whatever the hell else I did

and one of my fondest memories of childhood

was when he blew out his back chasing

me around the house

with such hatred in those Irish eyes

and I was smiling as soon as I realized

that I was safe,

that I had won

like I did in middle school

when he slipped and fell chasing me around the yard

with a goddamn shovel.

But it was always white and black,

sink or swim

and I remember, before I finished high school

I grew to feel bad for him,

reminiscing about the couple times we went camping,

the two Red Sox games we went to,

when he volunteered to be our cub scout leader

when I was in 1st or 2nd grade

because no one else would do it

and he didn’t have a clue what he was doing

but at least he tried

and we went ice fishing once,

us cub scouts and him,

and no one died…

and he didn’t realize

that he was doing his part

to brainwash the youth

with uniforms and badges and ribbons

I mean, he tried to be a good father

I really believe that he did

it’s just that my mother and him

should have never gotten married

and should have never had a kid,

much less three.


I see now that there is a lot of grey

and I’m crying for him now

this father’s day

crying for all the things I would say to him

if he could only listen,

if he wasn’t broken since the beginning

and further messed up

from all the alcohol and the broken dream

if he wasn’t such a broken record,

I’d call him

but for a decade and a half now

if not more

no words get through

it’s like the real life Homer Simpson

he distilled his brain

from brew after brew

after brew

with something akin to dementia now

from decades of heavy drinking

and a decade and a half of even more

a decade and a half

of pouring his life down the drain

his only, recurring thought is

‘my ex-wife is to blame’

and it’s a shame that he couldn’t see

that the American dream was a lie

and it’s a shame that I’ll likely never see him again

before he dies,

but if I did see him,

just like the last time…

in less than a minute,

maybe two

he’ll no doubt do

the only thing he remembers how to

and that’s badmouth my mom.

The last time was three years ago

and it had been two years before that

since I had seen him

and before my pancakes arrived

the broken record was spinning

and I asked him politely to stop

and he didn’t

so I left.

I only met him for breakfast

because he had promised my brother

he wouldn’t say anything

and he probably meant that when he said it

but he couldn’t even make it

until the goddamn pancakes arrived…

promises, promises

freedom fries and progress

and the home of the brave

and save me your stories

about father’s day

about ‘what would our founding father’s say

about today?’

well, they’d probably be upset

that women can vote

and they might be sad to see

no more slavery

in this, the land of the free…

the land of the free

was only a slice of the pie…

if you want to die for the land of the free

you’ll also die for the land of slavery

like the millions of prisoners slaving away every day

all work and no pay

and you’ll also die

for capitalism

it’s what killed many a man

and woman

and when my father dies

his epitaph should read

“Killed by the American Dream”

because it did him in a long time ago

and I know it’s done far worse to many more

he’s just a victim on the home-front

but the American Dream is a global war,

feeding the rich

with the blood of the poor.


It’s love-hate.

I used to think he was great

then I used to drink, say it’s my fate

-the old man drank, so too shall I-

but to hell with fate.

I’ve been sober going on three years

but the old man still drinks

and still thinks it was all my mom’s fault

because it’s always someone else’s fault

America can’t afford to have a mirror

and my father is like America

only seeing what he wants to

and he’s drank away

way too many brain cells at this point

so he actually fucking believes

what he’s been telling himself all these years.

Happy Father’s Day.

God Bless America.

About soitgoes1984

I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean in the Hawaiian Kingdom which is currently illegally occupied by the American government. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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