Friday, September 23, 2011

Today Is My Father's Birthday; Today My Mother Mourns Another Loss

I cannot make them happy.
I cannot cure my father's depression.
I cannot relieve my mother's traumas.
I cannot convince him that the wine doesn't help
     him sleep any better - but will admit it is cheaper by
     the box.
I cannot help her rescue herself as she rescues
     another stray dog or another mother's daughter
     as she tries to rescue one more lost victim.
I cannot pretend the nuclear war drills, keeping our eyes
     closed until the light is over, compensated for
     Ronald Reagan's Cold War Policies - i understood, even then
     in grade school, it was related.
I cannot remember a time that i didn't feel this way.
I cannot deny telling the babysitter, at the age of five,
     about my suicide plans - Heathkit wires.
I cannot understand the ache that brought them
     nudity and pornography in jacuzis in the Valley,
     in Mammoth Lakes, or in Kauai.
I cannot carry on like i will redeem myself
     in my parents' eyes - i did not set up
     the family dynamics.
I cannot pretend i do not feel shame when i tell
     my date why she left my father - he was only
     a few years older than me.
I cannot give back my father's surprise birthday,
     twenty-four years ago, when i stabbed his girlfriend -
     blamed him for her attacking my mother - spitting on him
     as i left his house.
I cannot reside in this house of shame
     that cripples my esteem; reduces my
     vision to temper tantrums and
     toy store euphoria.
I cannot sleep another night next to another
     beautiful woman and let these decades loose
     underneath shared blankets.
I cannot separate myself despite the years of
     therapy, fifteen years of sobriety, or even regulation
     from medication.
I cannot make use of these tools; it is
     not my fault.
I cannot escape my own gravity or break
     the inertia and i have lunch with her
     or i reach him on the telephone
     and one more time i seek their
     approval and her tired eyes are mad
     with paranoia and his voice is
     heavy with slurred despair and it is one
     more time and it is another hoorah
     and another diversion and i wont hang
     up or walk away and i simply cannot
I cannot contain the two of them and
     have room for me.