Father and sons. It’s complicated.


By Robert C Price

My father was something

Of a thug

A man bent on being

Something other than


A two-gun toting storm

Of inconsistencies

Who didn’t know what

He wanted

Kicked out of junior high

But smarter than anyone there

Spent his life readin’ and writin’

And fightin’ some ghost on

His mind

Spoiled rotten as a kid

Grandma was to blame

Grew up as a man

Expecting the world

To give him his due

Taught himself piano

Could play like Errol Garner

Banged on those keys like

Beating the devil to the mat

Married my sister’s mother

Treated her less than hospitable

Did most of his dirty work

In the cover of night

Left them for the Big Apple

Bright lights and false fame

Mesmerized by dice games

3 card molly and the like

Came back to Brotherly Love

Cuz grandma needed him

Met my mother

All four eleven of her

Had more heart than

Any hoodlum could stand

Then came me

Born in the house of Cancer

First male progeny

Became the namesake

The heir apparent

Of something I wasn’t

Made to be

My pop called me strange

Peculiar in essence

I had no desire

To live up

To his presence

I may have his name

But I’m me

He didn’t understand my


Or why I wasn’t him

He never did understand

Not even on his deathbed

And I wasn’t there when

He succumbed to death’s


I wanted to be there

But it was fast and


Too late for him

Too late for me

I loved him

Even when he

Didn’t understand