of irish spring soap and absent fathers

it’s always funny

the things that you

end up remembering

about someone


like that he used

irish spring soap

except, no he didn’t

i used irish spring


and so does my grandfather

which i know because

he’s the one that gave

me the soap when mine

ran out


i know where that soap is

upstairs in a cabinet

lined up at least three across

and four deep


went looking for the hair-dryer

so i could more quickly finish

coating a used canvas in alternating

layers of black and white paint

and got lost in the smell

of irish spring soap


and that made me think of

my father for some inexplicable reason

he never used irish spring soap

but he did use flower scented perfume

and those scents are arguably close


and i wondered if i was looking

for something in that cupboard

that it couldn’t offer me


and i wore these two

beat-to-shit leather jackets

that my father gave me

from middle school to high school

along with a sweater that

clung to how he smelled

even after i’d washed it


i got rid of those two jackets

and the sweater

earlier this year

realized that looking at them

only made me sad

and maybe also a little angry


i kept that pocketknife

he gave me, though

and a stuffed bunny rabbit

and i wonder why


there is a practicality

in keeping the pocketknife 

and maybe a certain kind of

sentimentality in the bunny


but who am i to say, really

why i kept these two things

and not the leather jackets

and sweater 


maybe i am looking for something

that none of these objects can

offer me


maybe they remind me 

of my father

in that he has nothing to offer me


and even if he did

i wouldn’t pick up the phone


  • dusk arising

    Between the lines i read the melancholy of regret. Regret that whilst you want to love your father's memory, there are reasons which are all to real in your memory impeding that love.
    The way you have expressed this here shows mastery of the poetic art.
    Deeply personal but easily relateable for any son with a troubled parental past.

    • queer-with-a-pen

      Wasn't too sure how I felt about this particular poem when I typed it out yesterday. It's a bit more jumbled than usual, and deviates from the captain and the bard entirely. It's kind of a nice change to briefly write about something else. Thank you for your compliments, and for reading my work.

    • L. B. Mek

      brilliantly raw and reads like a stream of consciousness diary entry, as if the reader is discovering the twists and turns of your musings at the same time as you are,
      I really like the voice and the consistent flow of this write, I think you may have a perfect-fit style for first person young adult novels, if you ever think of venturing your artistry in that direction, (relatable and empathetic voice, with distinct perspectives of creative imagery)
      as for father's: I suggest the psychological take would be your refusal of the jacket and sweater is in correlation to you outgrowing the childhood fantasy of becoming 'a man' like your father (as in walking in his shoes/clothes and acting like him). Because sooner or later that 'man' we projected was 30% reality and 70% our excuses for his short comings.
      Still though: that 30% is what produced 50% of all the good within us... In one way or another.

      • queer-with-a-pen

        Thank you for the compliments!
        I do actually write long-form fiction, though mostly in third person. I finished a short story a few months ago that was written in the first person, and am quite proud of it.
        You're pretty spot on with outgrowing being a man like my father. I've spent more than half my life being very careful to not be like him at all, and have been successful, if I do say so myself.
        Still, writing about him is cathartic as hell.
        I am glad you enjoyed my work.

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