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Father - Joe Dolce

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Published on Aug 2, 2008

FATHER
(written by Joe Dolce 1993)

I awake in the night with an ache in my chest,
A trapezoid nightmare's denied me my rest,
As scene after scene from my childhood quest,
Unfolds to the pounding here in my breast,
As my well-structured reason comes crashing.

I'm not blocking the pain with a needle or drug,
But I'm tracking it just like a light in the fog,
And I'm using its chisel 'till a channel is dug
To the memories behind the pictures that jog
All through my sleepless passion.

To my father's house in a psychic scene,
With his silken touch and his dying dream,
And his sweet kiss and his beating fist,
And the love of my mother somehow caught in between,
All merging in my tossing and turning.

I find my father again and he's broad and he's lean,
And he's tall like an oak as I fall to my knees,
He says, 'Stand up like a man,' once again striking me,
And my mother just watches it so passively,
With her unspoken glance filled with yearnings.

And the anger and deep rage that's burning in my heart,
Will clear now in anguish and tears and depart,
To free me from the labyrinth dark,
On the day that I forgive my father.

I clung to my mother like an image in a mirror,
Unable to comprehend, paralysed by the fear,
Perceiving my father somehow interfered,
In this perfect and infantile reflective sphere,
In which there could be no other.

Maybe my father, yes, didn't expect,
that the son he had longed for and finally would get,
Now loomed as a threat in this triangle net,
Between him and this woman that he had once met,
Who was now his best friend and lover.

Or maybe hatred of women channelled through father's shell,
Using him as an instrument in a much deeper spell,
From centuries before when life was just hell,
And men possessed women to buy and to sell,
As though they were objects or chattels.

But I, in my innocent childish state,
Mistaking for love, the aggression and hate,
'Till it stamped in my mind and like acid it ate,
And it mapped out my promises, my vows and my fate,
That all love must be bound up with battles.

And the anger and deep rage that's burning in my heart,
Will clear now in anguish and tears and depart,
To free me from the labyrinth dark,
On the day that I forgive my father,
In the way that I forgive my father.

Now I'm a father, these scenes are replayed,
With a young man I care for who was never to blame,
For the aggression and patterns that were long ago laid,
By a much older person whom he'd find somewhat tame,
If perchance there was more time we could share.

'Cause though I embrace a non-violent creed,
There's a nightmare of violence still smouldering in me,
I question my motives so scrupulously,
Am I just a coward behind some philosophy,
Or is my love for others sincere?

But the anger and deep rage that's burning in my heart,
Is clearing in anguish and tears to depart,
To free me from the labyrinth dark,
On the day that I forgive my father,
In the way that I forgive my father,
If today, I forgive my father.

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