I lied. One more post. The poem below is from the new poetry book I wrote with my father. This poem is a bit of an ode to my father. Happy Father’s Day pop. See you soon!
A whirling saw blade
flings particles skyward.
Sawdust hangs in a sunbeam;
in that moment time floats.
Serrated blades of green grass
stand tall and menacing
but soon are blanketed
under a soft layer of dust.
Poplar and Pine
hues of the earth
cover the workshop floor.
From this clutter
timber is measured
shaped and primed.
the bones of a house.
They are tables
filled with coffee
board games and food.
Soaking up secrets
laughter and tears.
Witness to breakups
first kisses, weddings
funerals and births.
The creaking of boards
The wind in the rafters
Front porch swings
And mended fences.
Work done yesterday
or one hundred years before.
The spirit of the carpenter imbued
Into his craft and into our lives.
The carpenter’s wife scans the room.
Her cabinets have no doors or drawers
The floors need to be sanded and stained
The walls need to be patched and painted
The tables and chairs are all off kilter.
She smiles, and exhales a sigh of relief.
At least I didn’t marry a dentist.
When I was a child
I despised that buzzing shrill.
Saw blades whining
The monotonous thud of hammers
Always waking me too early on Saturday mornings.
The sawdust that clung to the high grass
Only a nuisance that reminded me of waking from a dream.
Tonight the rich aroma of toasting wood
hung on the crisp fall air.
Eyes closed, head high, I inhaled deeply;
my body warmed and energized.
Memories came wrapped in moonlight:
The sun rarely woke the night’s deep slumber
when we loaded tools into my father’s truck.
We spoke early morning words
in hushed voices of the dawn,
The floor of the truck littered with pencil shavings,
The cab steeped with sweat and coffee grounds;
Infused with the sounds of Ray, Otis, and Allman Brothers.
We worked through the moments between dark.
When he gave me my first tool belt
I puffed out my chest and put my shoulders back
buckling that canvas and leather pouch at my waist.
On the surface I was the Outlaw Josey Wales
Deeper down it meant one day I could be like my father.
I buckled that tool belt less
When I turned my tassel left.
I made my own path
with new twists and curves.
Along the way I have stumbled
And made wrong turns
but what I heard
between the clanging hammers
and the saw tooth’s zipping bite
always leads me back
to the right path in my life.
I watched and I listened
And this is what I learned.
That love is the foundation
which a family builds upon.
A carpenter can build a house
But the bones don’t make a home.
How to treat a woman.
How to tell a joke.
When to keep quiet.
And when to take a stand.
How to drink whisky
And how to throw a punch
When to make your own way
And when to take a helping hand.
Through all of these lessons,
The laughter and love,
I saw the man
I hope I can someday become.