The Footprints of Ghosts (commemorating my first Father’s Day as myself)

The fire crackles and pops
its diphthongs and phonemes
in that hot and feisty
rapid-snap delivery.

Dad!  Dad!  Daddy!  Father!”
It says this in living
letters of merry blazing
iterations of what,
repetitions of who,
and smoky, hazy eye-burning
questions of…
how?

I shiver and draw close,
grateful for warmth
this late spring day.
It is still early, and summer
slumbers in the dawn,
as I sit shiva with spring …

and the fire sings, keens,
quests, warms and shows us
the way of all things,
fading natural-like, and
giving up its ghost.

Ashes drift lazily,
footprints of wandering ghosts
free at last from their entombment,
in limbs of wood and sap,
and finally I see ashes
are ghostly release,
are seeds, promises of Phoenix,
gathering, bunching,
heaving and inevitable.

Smoke gets in my eyes,
clears my eyes, blurry and stinging
and stirs my memory pools
as I think back on 31 spectral years,
as a ghost encased in a word,
in a role, entombed
in limbs of alien thick
coarse wooly flesh.

Those long years of walking on water and anxious,
with no idea
what was a daddy
and inherent universal
knowing of love so deep it makes
the shores of the galaxy seem shallow.

Love was my fire,
my ghost, my ash-seeds,
and I my own Phoenix
sleeping, waiting,
looming, wanting.

I gave myself, my blood and sweat,
my upturned nose to fear and downturned face to them…
I threw me on the fire
and I screamed silent,
solitary inside no-one-else-here land.

I popped and hissed
and seethed and whistled
and snapped as I
gave up the ghost each day,
turned to ash each day,
diminished, but growing…
disappearing and becoming

until I walked
free and disembodied
and covered with ashy afterbirth
and filled with knowing
I could do nothing more
than give the love of one called father
even if I could not bear the
name of man.

Summer stirs, and my reverie is snapped
by the sharp chirp of robins
wanting to scritch thru the fire remnants for sowbugs.
Spring has closed her eyes,
her breath has slowed
even as mine has quickened
and I stand to face
my first father’s day of
fully knowing me.

Love calls 4 times.
And I know that somewhere,
somehow, someway
that feisty fire-voice
was naming and liberating
and I have been reborn
from all ash,
a ghost no more
but bodied, present,

and turning in my joy.

 

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Reposting a heartbreaking and Sobering Classroom Moment…

Very telling…anyone willing to take the challenge to raise our children with expectations of worth and value instead of domination and control?

My class today
  • Me:So when you see the 4 year old boy pull the little girl’s hair…
  • Students:He likes her!
  • Me:Now they are around 11 or 12 and he grabs her arm and wrestles her to the ground even though she calls him a jerk and yells at him to leave her alone.
  • Students:That is just how boys are.
  • Me:Now they are 18 and he grabs her arm and–
  • Students:Oh, that’s not okay.
  • Me:Really? How would he know? How would she know? How would you know? You just told me that for the first 17 years of these children’s lives that you thought it was cute, sweet, and natural for a boy to grab a girl and be rough with her.
  • Students:Oh.
  • Me:Oh, is right.

 

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