Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Father's Day Thoughts

Pop was part of it
The American Dream
His victory was far greater than he appreciated
in the lonely evenings
in the bar down the corner,
any corner in the neighborhood.

That's where the dream played out
for Vasili Andreivich
on the banks of the Old Raritan
first totally polluted major river in the USA,
son of a wannabe aristocrat
from Minsk
Which rhymes with Pinsk
also in Minsk.

In Russia he was something of a Jolly Wally
in translation
He claimed he was Vasili
or Sweet Basil
as I dutifully reminisce
America called him Wally
So did Mom.

Papa was twenty nine when he married Mama
she was twenty six
He spent nineteen years as a single White Russian
with some command of English
and powerful smart
with a hammer, a ruler and a saw.
His America was alive with young imigrants
from a Europe bleeding from Revolution
and the Great War;
Torn Loyalties in a new and often hostile America
If they thought you weren't acting
American enough
they'd Palmer you up and send you back
across the sea
to fight and die for a rotted corpse of a system.

So they hid in outhouses and herring sheds
these young immigrants with dreams
in America.

It was her blue eyes
Papa told me one melancholy day;
and I saw his face glow
and his eyes glimmer and shine
as when their love was the grand elixir,
Mama nodded in agreement
A slight blush radiating
but mostly she just kept on washin'
and scrubbin' cookin an' lookin'
after her little clutch a nine.

'Course Mama had to get thrown out
of the Jews' club
when she up and married Papa
a Russian and a gambler of sorts
But Papa Wally, as he liked to be called,
planted that seed
from whence grew the idea in America
that life could be
should be
'spozed to be
Good, Sweet
in America.

So Happy Father's Day to Vasili
Papa Wally
and to all of you out there
that ever had or have now
a Father
As a Father I give to you a thought
passed on to me:
What kind of a world are we leaving our children?
It's a simple and reasonable question.
for all his shortcomings
taught me that.


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