Tell the Story of Your Father's Life

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tell the story of your father's life,and your father's father's life,and find your own, or findsomething altogether new,an antipodes of the expected.Expect to find, what? A historyof habitude? A cacophony of drunks?Shocking, to learn of hidden happinessesswallowed by the undulatingrecitation of history.“He lost everything gambling,and, rueful of the homeward way,clocked himself with a 410 Winchester.”It's easy to tell, draws the most sighs.But what about the lolling times,when nothing bad, and nothingparticularly good, happened?Decades, eras, even, gone by withno tangible sorrow or conquest.How can that define a human life?Where's the cost? And where the awe-filled ears to listen and repeatand nurture the story of love gonedour or heartache bound up inwine and exotic kisses?History was not always heavy,but we seek to make it so,most fervently in our own lives.A day drawn to a close without incident,and what, have we lived?If a tree falls, but not on us,have we lived?***In Praise of One Night StandsThe small of your back is new to my handsThe words that you say are new, and not newNot the same dew on an April morning,but of the same lover's hue,of that same longing, that endless longing.I fall for you every night.For a different you, but you, nonetheless,and for a night, I, too, am new,a cloud break in the covered spaces,a robe opening to fresh surprises,a dilapidation with a fresh beam.Truth spills over like little autopsies,fingers spread like miraclesacross all of my new parts,and for an hour I am not broken.Image used with permission from Mentality Design

Allison Leigh DeFrees is a poet and an immigration attorney living in New York City and Austin, Texas. Her past includes stints as a playwright, actor, and punk rock singer. Former jobs include bread delivery woman, horse stall cleaner, waitress, wooden boat renovator, medical malpractice lawyer, Calculus tutor, journalist, and speech writer. She likes poetry best, and in 2005 published a handbound volume of poetry, "Glass Bones." She still carries a torch for mathematics.