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  • Like the Water

    Posted on March 1st, 2012 Dan Hughes No comments

    My life is a fresh spring in Wisconsin,
    Unsoiled, sweet, pristine, clear.
    Sprung forth from the mother earth
    Naturally filtered of all past sediments.
    My Mother treasured me, nurtured me,
    Both gave me space to run and held me close,
    Protected me from the traits of my father
    That would turn me into the same man he was.
    And also from the aspects of herself—
    She changed herself for me, gave her life to me
    Before she had truly lived a life.
    I never realized this before now.

    She gave her life for me.
    And probably would again.

    My life is a coursing stream, fueled by a fresh spring,
    Sturdy banks absorbing the pressure
    Guiding its path while it rushes on,
    Clueless to the erosion caused in its rampancy.
    My Dad is not the man who begat me,
    But the man who taught me what a man was.
    Marching into my life without missing a beat,
    He taught me what a father was.
    It would be the only definition I knew for half my life—
    The one with his image next to it, his name in the caption.
    He was Dad. He became Father.
    Together, with Mom and Me, We became Family.

    The title was not his, but he earned it.
    He wore it so proudly.

    My life is a bubbling brook, pouring over the rough earth,
    The echoes of fresh water soothing weary travelers.
    The flow tempo washes away bad dreams
    And carries slumbering minds away in peace.
    My Father constantly played the music of his time
    Grumbled and griped at the crap I listened to.
    He made me listen closely to the words,
    And put myself in the shoes of others.
    How would those cops feel listening to their deaths?
    How would those bitches feel listening to their abuse?
    How about the boys while their daddies use drugs?
    THIS is the bullshit you pay them to write?

    This is not what it means to be a MAN.
    Why would you glorify such pain, violence, and objectification?

    My life is a river in an ever-growing storm,
    Encouraged to rush over the banks and run on the land.
    Torrents of water, freedom to run, freedom to flow
    Can be devastating in the wrong lands.
    I was the smartest, and my parents loved me for it.
    Awards, achievements, aced tests and accolades,
    For fifteen years they chuckled at the accomplishments
    That had become so commonplace.
    There was no puzzle I could not solve.
    Especially the one where my birth records
    Were missing vital information,
    And the excuses for it made no sense.

    My dark brown eyes gazed helplessly into
    My Mother’s pleading blues and my Dad’s sad, soft greens.

    My life is a polluted lake, fed by a river
    Chemicals and garbage lay suspended in the murk,
    No one cares to clean it, and everyone’s doing it.
    The water just keeps swirling ‘round.
    I questioned all I knew, the dictionary was being rewritten.
    What was my name? Who is my father? What did I do?
    Wrestling with rejection, depression, and pain
    I said I would be fine.
    I lived in others’ happiness to replace my own,
    Needing to be told how great a person I was.
    I neglected myself, I gained weight,
    I was nothing without attention and compliments.

    I had my mind, and I had my loving parents.
    Why could I not see that I had everything others wanted?

    My life is a stagnant pond, uninviting.
    People walk by without a glance
    The water is stale and tasteless
    Even the amphibious fauna has found a new home.
    My grades suffered, I graduated without esteem or notice.
    I dropped out of college and worked at minimum wage.
    I worked until I got bored, then did something else.
    I lost myself in fantastical worlds and fictional histories.
    I sabotaged my relationships, victimized myself
    I married a girl who told me what I needed to hear
    In spite of the history surrounding her.
    I pretended to be surprised when she hid her affairs from me.

    I was self-destructive and hurt others,
    I called those who gave up on me the worst kind of friends.

    My life is a waterway, once dirty
    But the rains overflow the pond and connect it with the rivers,
    The animals and plants eat the impurities
    People lend a helping hand and the bottom becomes visible.
    It took years to release the fury pent up inside me
    To stop living for others and live for myself.
    I don’t need to find my birth father, I don’t need to punish my exwife.
    I looked back and realized what I had known all along.
    You make your own honor, you create your own image.
    You construct who you are, you choose how you act.
    All this I learned two decades ago,
    When my Father was my Father.

    An epiphany, now, seeing all that he’s done—
    My Father IS my Father.

    My life is a wide river, peaceful and swift
    Providing relaxation to the those who sit on its banks
    And smooth sailing to the travelers on their way by,
    Key to commerce, trade, and travel.
    I have the mind I left behind, and I do good things with it.
    I apologize to those who kept me, and let go those who move on.
    I form my own opinions, and I will not be bullied into subservience.
    Though conscious of my past, I am proud of me.
    I have a love based on how good I am, not how good she said I was.
    I quit my job and give up my independence
    To return to school and put my mind to work.
    I better my mind so that I might better the world.

    I cherish my friends, and they cherish me,
    Because I am worth cherishing, and I see it in them.
    And if I follow the path my parents showed me,
    I can learn how to be a man just like my Father.

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