Dada Poem - Eric Marsh
King of all he surveys
Except when princess appears
Knight in shining armor becomes
Her little pony
Beast of burden down on all fours
Purveyors of piggyback rides
Human trampoline and living jungle gym
Our pot belly making us an appropriate member of the stuffed animal audience
Applauding the 234th performance of
Let it Go! Let it Go!
sporting a pink ruffled tutu and paper mache tiara sipping tea with Treasure Trolls, Buzz Lightyear and one armed Barbi with the matted hair
(the result of a horrific run in with a rambunctious infant brother
... she's a victor daddy NOT a victim)
Reconstructioner of broken hopes and shattered dreams
Reassembling fantasies dashed to bits like LEGO assemblies
by clashes with society's interpretation of reality
Rebuilding self confidence in children with little bricks of victory
Bound by the mortar of love and patience
Erecting skyscrapers of human decency
The dragon and the moat
Protecting fragile castles of hope
The first line of defense when the world makes no sense
Father of the future
Sowing seeds to be harvested by a world we may never see
Having faith in the fertile earth we till
Teaching young buds sprouting forth to seek the sun
Hoping one day they will bear fruit of their own
Sanctuary from the storms of life
Co-sheltering with mama
Like russian nesting dolls neatly stacked inside one another
Broad back bears the brunt of burden
Blanket forts and tree house hideouts
Harboring a safe haven called home
Uncle or O'pa, old head, big bro, step in-law, adoptive pops
whatever label whether chosen or given
Your roll is vital in shaping how they're living.
Most of the world sees God as the father
A guide, a protector, their destiny's author,
a shepard, a leader, a coach, a healer
whatever title or name our roles are the same
to be the base on which they are built
to be the ladder that lets them climb higher
to be the helping hand that helps them reach farther
to be the other half of their world
to be a father.
Eric Marsh Sr
Tzaddik (a righteous, wise person) - Billy Yalowitz
Twice in the last 3 days you kicked me in the balls.
The first one, full on, when picking you up from day care.
Though it’s been decades since the last kick, so familiar: first: the searing pain radiating from the very center.
Second: the childrens’ voices and laughter all around me, oblivious.
Back then, I couldn’t tell if the agony would end or whether it would be a new permanent condition. I half-crouched, wincing, trying to hide my face.
Now this time, again I resist doubling over.
We’re in the midst of the usual struggle – “Time to go home”; “I want to tay and play”; OK, very soon”; “I don’t want to put on my jacket”.
Meanwhile, not hiding my face as well as I think.
“ Papa, what’s the matter?”
“I have an ache in my middle”.
“You kicked me there. You didn’t mean it”.
And once more, a less direct hit, while I was wrangling you into the car seat.
“Fuck, fuck, papa, what’s fuck?
“Are you having trouble with that?” you ask, hearing me curse again, I thought under my breath, about having dropped some peas on the floor as I make your mac & cheese and peas for lunch.
“Yeah, honey, but it’s OK”.
You’re not worried, just checking and then keeping on with conjugating mac and cheese and peas - “Mac and cheese and t’s. mac and cheese and bees…”
as I hurry around the kitchen.
A cry wells up in you out of nowhere. “Hug me on the way”, you say, as I move back and forth, washing dishes, getting your breakfast together.. I stand by you on a run between the fridge and the sink, I hold you, the warmth of your cheek.
“Hug me forever”, you say.
And then last night at 4:06am, half asleep, you kick me in my solar plexus
I try to pull you in to settle you back down; you protest and wake further.
“I’m wet”, you cry. I change you, new pull-ups and pajamas in the dark
Now mama is doubled over with a stomach pain.
One hand on her belly, one on your head, I can comfort nobody.
Mama heads out to the toilet, then off to sleep on the couch.
You yell, ‘I want to wake up”
“Not yet, love. Your body is still tired”
“Papa, I want to wake up now”
I briefly consider the pre-dawn wake up; hold steady.
“Not yet”. I move you close.
You push me away, thrash, cry,
tear at my face with your nails.
“I want to wake up now”.
“Your body is still tired, sweetheart. Come here.”
You leap on me, pound your head into my chest
Cry til you’re exhausted back down.
You’re on your side next to me now.
“Papa move closer”.
Now I cry. I sleep
In successive moments you are a savage and a tzaddik in one tiny body.
I try not to count how few more times, while you are just like this, I will get to hug you forever.