The burden you will always carry
has metamorphosed into your son, father.
And just as your father did to you
so you have tried with me, but failed.
I learned to hate lies and untruth:
before you ever had a chance to succeed.
I know that you have always had to protect
yourself; from the awareness of beauty shared:
you were taught by practical matters
the world could be seen
through a grid or matrix of black and white.
Wrong and right still dominate there,
where success is the highest pinnacle; but
who can hide from the long reach of death?
You live with the phantoms of an unrehearsed
youth; and I carry the corpse of my childhood
with me: the prison bars do not serve,
except to obscure our separate realities.
In this moment we are more similar than
different; comically we believe we hate
each other, at least you feel this about me.
I often wish I could be as unrelievedly
ignorant; without wonder too, absolutely certain.
You dismiss me as a cretin, an idiot at times, yet
who isn’t? And I confess I share that state of grace:
with you in your lovelessness, when you
abandon me to a fate you have never escaped.
Your mother is dead, as is mine; and my wife
has succumbed to another kind of cancer, but
one that is just as deadly: you don’t
know, until afterwards whenever it’s too late.
Between you and I, the battle rages; because
I cannot live your life,
while you resent the advantages of mine:
the comparison does not hold and we grow old.
You will never understand that I love you, a cliché,
the only way I know; and refuse to accept
that such care must take the form of punishment,
the denial of a life you do not own.
You are alone and a cancer has you by the throat –
there are no more stones left to throw: we
strangers are shadows now, ghosts dancing on the wall.
-excerpt from The Lost Canadian, Poems Selected, Vol. 2, 110 pages, $10.99
fist published in The Amaranth Review, Phoenix Arizona
“The Ghost Dance (Caddo: Nanissáanah, also called the Ghost Dance of 1890) was a new religious movement incorporated into numerous American Indian belief systems. According to the teachings of the Northern Paiute spiritual leader Wovoka (renamed Jack Wilson), proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits of the dead to fight on their behalf, make the white colonists leave, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Indian peoples throughout the region.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Dance “The Lakota variation on the Ghost Dance tended towards millenarianism, an innovation that distinguished the Lakota interpretation..”