Yesterday after work I sat and read. I was again at a favorite location. A number of the people at the pub, I know, and talk with often. I let the noise of the pub help to settle into my reading.
Now I’m reading and I’m turning pages and I like the book. I’m reading about how a child is trying to teach his father and the father misunderstands these lessons. I read about the drum tapping as soldiers prepare for battle. The Poet is doing everything. He manipulates his use of grammar perfectly for him and his words.
I’m deeper now and turning another page and I realize I’m smiling. I’m smiling and I’m turning the page and I’m seeing the bookmark and I stop to ask for a pen and I write-
To Smile Without Pause-
To This I give Myself Permission
But I haven’t a color. I’m invisible.
They need you to mark your color. Here, on this document.
I don’t wish to do that. I’m invisible.
But, you aren’t, I see you fine and you’re here.
Why do they want to mark my color?
Because they wish to judge.
Why would they judge a color?
They were taught to do so.
I’m not sure.
I don’t understand.
They were taught to judge in a space with benches.
Are the benches upset with us?
There’s a box here. On this document. It wants to know if I’m African American, Latino, or White. Where are the other colors and peoples?
Don’t worry about that.
But they are missing? Are they also invisible?
There’s a place to view. It’s beneath the floor. If you know this, it’s you. If another lays their head on this floor and finds your place, what then? We dove deep and saw much and now we ask the floor, “Why did you betray us?” and the floor replied, “We also were betrayed. Can you help?” It was early morning and the floor felt cool on the face. The floor shouldn’t be speaking but there wasn’t anyone else to ask.
Father, what is that in the sky beckoning to me with long
And what does it say to me all the while?
Nothing, my babe, you see in the sky;
And nothing at all to you it says. But look you, my babe, Look at these dazzling things in the houses, and see you
the money-shops opening;
And see you the vehicles preparing to crawl along the streets with goods;
These! ah, these! how valued and toil’d for, these!
How envied by all the earth! – Walk Whitman, Drum – Taps
Walt died in 1882. He’s telling us much. The child saw and asked the father who saw little. It’s a warning. For any of us who can see and those who cannot. It’s time to stop asking. His father does damage and ‘These! ah, these!’ is a bullshit red flag. His father’s emotion wasn’t important then and it’s not important now. What was important was the child asking the question.
Guys when you’re looking back wondering why your daughter is holding the hand of another man and calling him Daddy also, please see. When you left her mother crying in the bathroom. When she’d asked for you to stay and to talk. When you closed the door and felt the weight lift from your shoulders and felt you’d never seen the steps so clearly. When you slammed your truck door and felt alive again and slammed on the gas and tore from the driveway and left them all. Hindsight is within reach if you see.
I was on my deck. I was within a few pages of being finished. I remembered there was a small portion of a cigar left in the grill. I put the book down. I felt the familiar sadness when nearing the end of a book that’s taken me.
I opened the grill cover. The cigar sat looking pathetic and slightly damp and flaked and brittle too. It was perfect. I lit the cigar and struggled to not cough as I sat down. The book was waiting.
I finished the last page with the spent cigar in my mouth and cigar smoke ranging always near my eyes. I took a pull from my beer and said cheers to Papa.
This book is now among my most treasured.
‘Now, he told himself, you must try to grow up again and face what you have to face without being irritable or hurt that someone did not understand and appreciate what you wrote.’ The Garden of Eden. Hemingway
Written by -M. Taggart
You’re Drunk. Fiction.
‘You don’t like this show because you’re drunk.’
‘It’s hard for me to watch. They talk about fucking and how they fuck and how the others fuck and how they might want to fuck all the others.’
‘No one says that. Everyone loves it and only you say that. See. You’re drunk. You sit on your drunk ass and just do that.’
‘I can’t talk to you when you’re drunk. Shut the fuck up.’
‘I may be drunk. I’m standing and I’m not yelling. I don’t want to watch your show. I won’t apologize. I think people who want to show themselves half naked to make money and then not work shouldn’t then judge everyone else.’
‘What do you know. You’re drunk. You go to hell and let me watch my show.’
Outside on the deck it was breezy and the night was brimming with life. The birds hand’t yet gone to nest and the outline of the oak trees could still be seen.
‘That’s right you fucking drunk. Go outside like a dog!’
The deck felt cool on his bare feet and he liked it. He watched a lightening bug appear and it made him smile. The noise from the TV was less now and he closed the door to make it leave all together. Another lightening bug lit and he sat down on the steps.