Reader, please forgive me.
I’ve got fifty years of memory
to debrief, so this’ll take a while.
There was that time in St. Louis;
Dad was our church
youth group leader leading us astray …
We boys were happily lead there
while Mom lead the girls in her own way,
gently, somewhere in the neighborhood of “Kumbaya.”
Meanwhile, Dad marched us boys onward
and downward into the nearest bar. Hell, he wasn’t
about to let some pious pretense get in the way of his own
holy rite – Happy Hour – especially when
the Norton-Bobick fight was scheduled for that night.
Well, Dad had hardly finished his first beer when Duane
went down. It took less than a minute for the Jacksonville native
to win this time in New York – Madison Square Garden.
The rest of the night Dad kept insisting to the barman
that Norton beat Ali at Yankee Stadium
the fall before. The bartender countered that you had to
KO the self-proclaimed “Greatest” boxer in the world … to take
his title. Dad said a win is a win, that Ken
was robbed of his rightful place in the history books.
Lighter than a Balloon
I’m writing you down
in my history book.
I’m keeping you here
in this journal
like the photograph
of me in your arms
in our family album,
the one in which I’m holding a balloon
by a string. We’re on the steps
of the Capitol
next to Mom and Paul Findley.
I’m two years old.
You’ve just earned
your graduate degree
But I think you’re more
proud of your little boy
than you are of your diploma.
I hadn’t done anything
to deserve this pride,
other than being your boy.
Well, that was a enough, more
than enough, to make you
beam like the hero you were
to me, as I clung to that string
the way you clung to me,
just as I hold fast to you
now, now that you are out of reach
and lighter than a balloon.