3 a.m. Dad Sleeps Without Hearing

Understand me; I do not proselytize. I sit quietly

In clutter, dad’s possessions of 60 years lie

Between my pacemaker and his bedroom, he’s up;

I’m talking about doctors about emergency rooms,

Hearing aids freedom from fearful bodily limits,

He’s 88, I’m talking about friends, enough food,

Safety, lost phone, his driving when mostly he talks

Of another statewide decision, he hates politicians, taxes

He says “You can stay up fusing all night and day,

But I’m going back to bed.” I sigh, he might sleep,

Listen to all-night talk shows on his radio next to bed,

Remember TV ads, for this pillow I might use for my

Arthritic neck. I worry about this need of hearing aid

Whether to buy one, we’ve talked about it many times before,

Better hearing which brings better driving, I’m 67,

I don’t drive could have killed. He might not listen as I speak-up.

I ask is he healthy with body changing, I say can’t last forever.

I have two total knees, so does he. In May he fell, didn’t even

Tell me how bad; he pulled himself into bed, into dark

Morning, finally called friends after his admission, I called him,

No answer, nothing from phone. He drove himself to emergency

Room. Surgery dangerous repairs, bleeding into spine, sewed

Bloody nerves, sewed broken vessels, weak in hospital; what if

Smashed himself up in his SUV, says he loves his car, except

For his Dodge pickup largest ever one-ton diesel his horsepower

Sits in corner drive. Now he’s sleeping, not hearing me

Typing my poem of concern, love and forgiveness,

My epitaph for oil-rig-man, high school teacher into more

With tenured electronics, math instructor all over Sierra College

Me writing, teaching English, American literature, grammar,

Even technical writing, my job to document this greatness

After years of my therapy, my dad fading into Colfax, California,

Taught Students how to learn, even me college algebra.

He matters, success for 28 years, tenured both

Institutions, could never leave because Marilyn

Is deep into Sierra earth, headstone room for him, can

His resilience, perhaps thinking of her, into past loving memories?

My understanding for my dad’s love for my step-mom,

My mother forgotten? My brother calls for rough instructions,

Dad needs his sons both of us Doug from Des Moines,

Me near Sioux Falls with memories of Pacific waters,

Three and seven years old he left us from Coastal Range,

To tallest California mountains Sierra Nevada 14,000 feet

Donner Pass, treacherous Lake Tahoe snow, Reno into deep

Valley. He’s at 2,500 feet, put chains on; he’s father, grandfather

Finley great grandfather to child he might never see;

I will come back to salvage, watch as others clean out belongings

When they make his hillside home someday Ready for sale,

Dad, as husband, believer in greatness of God as I do,

I can’t think as tears Come to take over, I know him,

I pray, “Oh, God be with us!” I’m not extractor, he

Achieved friends industrial technology, their expectations

More than me. His Ojai grammar school teachers–he

showed them, rough childhood working for Ray Bower

Just like me at 11 with my paper rout, his math in high

School escaped me, even so what they expected

In is schooling almost lost to Ventura oil fields, catwalks quit

For Cal Poly because union transferred him to driller at age

Nineteen when he was almost killed by drunk roustabout,

Great entrance exams at Cal Poly College his BA, MA,

Students who will never forget, I defend mother; she believed

In me, I lived with dad, returned to mom broken much later.

For dad Bill Fisher’s astronomy now gone, as TA his approach

To calculus performed in Mountains where he fished,

His home rebuilt with huge redwood deck;  gone

I finished four degrees later to be just like him.

We are friends. Jack Moore moved to Oregon forests,

Friends have died, so many in technical departments,

Still math and science, physics, economics of US failure,

Philosophy of teaching, thirty years past, those stories practical,

The invisible in his hands, he’s great with tools, ciphering

On yellow pads, slow movement to computing, still helping

His neighbors, artificial intelligence he will never trust just

Turn off electricity human power to control, his ham rigs

At 88 learning about social networks not so important

Recovering his passwords for laptop. Will never trust

Democrats, my real wiring of his soldering guns, vacuum tubes,

Changing so fast who can keep-up, only printed circuits

I help him be careful of charges for some items, can’t read

Poetry without suffering, I feel sorrow for my parents, so helpless

Mom never saw purchased desktop computers as they

Became obsolete, complete until dad seldom used it

New laptop, he prefers Windows 8.1 days empty

Just box except for e-mail, games he always wins

Of solitaire, I’ll teach him a few tricks he’ll open

Computer apps, yet, how much longer this man waits?

I’ve followed him as I could in my own mistakes, what

He respects my is wife with her BA, MA, just as he did

Both as successful in work, though not expected,

We learn. my BA, MA, Ed S, MFA brought me close

To reaching for the stars, lifting heavy words,

After his great gifts with people, his own great solitude.


Published by elgwynone

I was a University and community college instructor before retiring. I also worked in fast food restaurants, and retail stores. I am an ordinary man writing for because I want to write and because my education prepared me to write; BA English lit, MA English, EdS higher education, and MFA creative writing, free verse poetry and essays. Blogs are an answer to high-priced self-publishing. Walt Whitman had to self-publish his first 1000 copies of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass because in 1855 poetry did not sell. Most poets make a living in other ways than writing. Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive, and TS Eliot was a banker. Many writers teach, and always there have been writers who have written because they needed to express their thoughts and feelings. They wrote not necessarily to make money but to express "the old universal truths of the human heart" according to Faulkner. Here I reach a wider audience I missed than by self-publishing, and I stand a better chance to reach a wider audience for less expense than self-publishing. I self-published my first books, Winter from Spring, and Meditations on Gratitude; poetry and photo books which were easier to self-publish than to seek a not to seek a publisher company. This blog allows me to write for an interested audience because I write poetry and personal essays. I write for a friendly audience and present to you a slice of my writing. Perhaps you will enjoy what you read.

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