On Parenting

 

Late at night, past any teenager’s

Curfew,

My friend Chris tells me that

Punks don’t have parents.

People who were raised right

Don’t shoot off fireworks at shows,

Destroy shopping carts,

Weigh their jackets down with studs,

Or listen to Minor Threat.

The last time I saw my father,

He punched me in the face.

Super punx.

 

I once heard a comedian say that

He did not want to be

The kind of dad that inspires art.

My dad called my brother Jake a fag

Back when he had pink hair,

So Jake used it in a song and

Stormed out of the auditorium

Once he was done screaming along to the guitar.

 

I can’t remember how many times

My mother threatened to leave when I was growing up,

Or how many times I found myself on the floor under her,

Learning just how sorry I was supposed to feel.

Open handed blows only –

She was the good parent, after all.

 

My childhood taught me that

No good came from talking to social workers.

Well, I did tell that one that he saved my life,

But he was never on my case.

He just writes nice little songs about

Lynching, meth, and never meeting his real father.

 

It would be too optimistic

To hope that my parents made me

A stronger poet.

That would be giving a lot of credit to

Alcohol and the United States military,

Red wine and grey gun oil,

That I’m not ready to give.

 

 

Don’t Fuck Bad Writers

 

I should have known things weren’t going to work out

When he sent me his short story

And, by the first page,

I knew that a mere eleven pages

Was going to be too long.

 

He ripped off Metamorphosis.

I didn’t even realize his reading level was that high.

He turned his protagonist into

An end table.

It was called “The End Table.”

 

I can’t count the number of times

He asked me to marry him and run away

To New York

So we could be a writing team,

Husband and wife;

But it wasn’t exactly clear

 

Which of us got to be the husband.

 

 

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