father’sday || an inseparable meditation

father's day

the day is yesterday –

the day fathers are universally praised:
“best man I know”
“made me who I am”

amnesia takes hold,
erases all pain and failure.

false self-defining memories take over,
reshaping the days of youth gone by.

gushing for what might have been –
for some, what was,
for most, the dream.

the day of forgetting.

*how was my day, you ask?

–response #1–
I received wonderful gifts,
love from my wife and children,
rest and good food –
it was a lovely day to be a dad.

my dream is giving my offspring little to misrepresent in the future, to their children and spouses, to their memories.

–response #2–
“Happy Father’s Day!”
no response.
luckily, no surprise, either –
only sadness, regret, ire, resignation.
reminiscent of “Happy Mother’s Day” 2017,
a goddam clone, in fact.

I’ve never been the man I could have been, or perhaps even should have been.

what I have now overshadows all i missed then,
and in 364 days we’ll do it all again.

father’sday 2018, it’s a date.

4 sisters

4It’s been just over a month since I’ve managed to post anything on this blog…over the course of the past month I have read very little (it’s the first time in forever that I haven’t finished a single book in such a long time), written no book reviews, but I have managed to turn out several dozen poems and a few short stories. I’m not exactly thrilled with the shape of those days, but at least they have a shape.

4 sisters

how can dad being home
be such a terrible thing?
[for the ones who understand]

1-a bit somber
eating chips
no smile…

2-good softball game last night
big smile
munching chips
shakes her head no
when asked
‘are you glad dad’s home?’

3-moderate mood
obviously down
[what is going on]

4-really bad
no smile – at all
no response
[even after winning last night’s game]

this should be a great day – dad’s home!
but it’s [to me] astonishingly terrible

we never know what goes on
behind closed doors
in the privacy of one’s own home
[though I fear it’s often sad]

20 May 2009
© Matthew E. Jackson
written after hearing a very sad story from 4 sisters

National Poetry Month – Day 25 – Sappho of Lesbos

sapphoIf you’ve not read about Sappho, it’s reading well worth your time. She was a Greek poetess, of the island of Lesbos, born sometime around 620 BCE. She was highly regarded both during her lifetime and after. Unfortunately, most of her work has been lost, and only a few fragments remain.

Here are a few links for more on her life:

I’ve chosen a few shorter fragments to post today, because I find these verses incredibly poignant.

View all of my National Poetry Month 2015 blog posts!

Although They Are

Although they are
only breath, words
which I command
are immortal

You May Forget But

You may forget but
let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us

National Poetry Month – Day 23 – ‘ghost’

indigoI was introduced to the Indigo Girls sometime near the end of high school, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. The writing is wonderful, the music sublime and perfect, and the voices fit together in a way that draws the listener immediately into the experience of music. This is one of my favorite songs they do. I didn’t see a video I loved, so this one is simply not distracting – you can let yourself be pulled into the music, feel the words, and remember.

View all of my National Poetry Month 2015 blog posts!


There’s a letter on the desktop that I dug out of a drawer
The last truce we ever came to
In our adolescent war
And I start to feel the fever
From the warm air through the screen
You come regular like seasons
Shadowing my dreams

And the Mississippi’s mighty
But it starts in Minnesota
At a place that you could walk across
With five steps down
And I guess that’s how you started
Like a pinprick to my heart
But at this point you rush right through me
And I start to drown

And there’s not enough room
In this world for my pain
Signals cross and love gets lost
And time passed makes it plain
Of all my demon spirits
I need you the most
I’m in love with your ghost
I’m in love with your ghost

Dark and dangerous like a secret
That gets whispered in a hush
(don’t tell a soul)
When I wake the things I dreamt about you
Last night make me blush
(don’t tell a soul)
And you kiss me like a lover
Then you sting me like a viper
I go follow to the river
Play your memory like a piper

And I feel it like a sickness
How this love is killing me
I’d walk into the fingers
Of your fire willingly
And dance the edge of sanity
I’ve never been this close
I’m in love with your ghost

Unknowing captor
You never know how much you
Pierce my spirit
But I can’t touch you
Can you hear it
A cry to be free
Oh I’m forever under lock and key
As you pass through me

Now I see your face before me
I would launch a thousand ships
To bring your heart back to my island
As the sand beneath me slips
As I burn up in your presence
And I know now how it feels
To be weakened like Achilles
With you always at my heels

This bitter pill I swallow
Is the silence that I keep
It poisons me I can’t swim free
The river is too deep
Though I’m baptized by your touch
I am no worse than most
In love with your ghost

You are shadowing my dreams
(In love with your ghost)
(In love with your ghost)
(In love with your ghost)