Satin Black (Walking on Christmas Eve)

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The collection of Stars
Was not Midnight Blue
The trees encompassing us Reinz Green
The lights Lipstick Red
My father said “Give me your hand”
I walked across the ice and into the grass
A wall, now night, completely covered in Studs
There were haunting glints on the forest, quite distinct
My father and I spoke briefly about the food
And the wine (neither of us cared for the wine)
The forest was frozen Reinz Blue and Rice Brown
Now it was too dark on the path
“I don’t have my flashlight!”
“We don’t need one” he said with laughter
About the sky he sang songs
In Polish and I sang with him

“Wait look” I whisper and tug his jacket.
“What?”
“Look at it” I say gasping
The North Star was the only one I could name
The Big Dance
But I loved all the little ones
Which are obviously gargantuan
They were infinite
I didn’t want anything
Didn’t want warmth
I didn’t want a shooting star
Although my father mentioned a telescope
I mentioned buying a family star that’s at least nine hundred years old
Because there are nine of Us
I wanted but could not explain
To my father what the fabric was in Polish

And as we continued listening to nature
And seeing the world frozen for the year
The marvel of evergreens
The lights
The sand and the lingering burning odors
Of someone doing something curious
I knew one thing For a fact
Too bad this would not be on the math test
I knew
The sky
It was
Satin Black

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War Stories from my Father, in the Honor of Poland

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If there’s one thing I know, it is that telling stories is more difficult then telling tales. Telling stories is waiting for the moment when your friend is listening, I mean really listening and you pour out your feelings. Telling tales is adding or subtracting from what actually happened, and that is a lie. These “tall tales” or metafictional works of the imagination are what our narrator wants us to watch out for. O’Brien points this out right away- that metafiction is where truth and fake diverge. He indicates that when you see a horrid event, reality leaves you for a while. Sometimes the truth, meaning what actually happened, is so hard to digest that you want something pleasant in the story. The author indicts that those stories are half truth or less. This entire chapter in it’s self is a threshold between what really happened and what people want you to believe. Nature plays a key role in how “he died was almost beautiful.” Curt Lemon died, yes, but O’Brien toys with reality in my mind until the truth comes out. That’s the trouble with war stories, O’Brien declares. I agree, for when he says that they are supposed to hurt the stomach, I can attest to that myself.

When I was really sick in bed, last night actually, and I thought of a question, one I have wanted to know for years my dad was at my side. I was feeling nauseous, and in incredible amounts of pain. My dad stayed with me almost the entire night leading into the day. The question I asked him baffled him, I knew right away in his tone. His answer was even more shocking. Actually, the story he told is still intriguing me, how against even the evils of Hitler my grandfather, whom I never met survived the Second World War. The story translated into English went like this:

My father was the leader of about ten other men. (I ask how many) Ten, he says. (Then he pauses for a while lost in thought, and continues.) They were the men who gave information back to the Allies’ powers, but when the Russian men came, they knew. They knew that my dad was not on Hitler’s side, so they had a plan. A plan to kill the men, he said. (Then he paused, this time a different pause- a sad pause. Seeing my eyes in the dim light filled with intrigue he continued slowly though. I was scared of what was to come of the men. My fears came true when he suddenly told the rest of the story. I thought maybe the men…, when my dad seeing my imagination going went on too.) Four of them were caught the next day, taken to Siberia where they were brutally done away with. (Heads cut off or something worse I asked my dad.) It was probably worse knowing Stalin but not for your ears child. The next dawn, my father and his remaining men escaped quietly, quickly and most importantly ( my dad said) without a chase. (How far I asked?) From the tip of Illinois to the border of Iowa (for I needed an estimated route), and stayed there until they knew no one would come back to their hideout. My father just knew, child, he knew that it was safe, and so they came back and worked. More alert now, my dad says. He wasn’t taken ( he declared). To the working camp either, the death camp, he ran away from that also. (How, I asked) God, he said. He was a good man, Maria. (I wished I had met him.) Then my dad says he wishes also. After that, he was quiet and I swear I could see tears forming at the brim of his pale, tired eyes. Then I asked one final question, and asking it almost made me cry, so I cannot imagine what it must have done for him.

Do you miss your dad? Yes, too much his said. That is why child, I think of Poland less, or differently. Because I do not have a mom or a dad. Hearing him say that aloud at 50, for the first time baffled me, but just then I began rapid coughing once again. So he helped me. For hours, and his mind was on helping me, but his eyes felt strange. I think his eyes where in Poland.

Ode to Football with my Dad (throwback)

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Oh football with my dad
Makes me smile just
Think about it, so glad
The two teams fighting
For eternal glory
Each individual team has a story
The Bears have
Made the comeback of
The century, and the
Play of the millennium
My body no longer tame
We jump up and down
We scream and dance around
Lights and more screams
Like aftershocks
Whiffing aftershave and
Hearing broken English
But I wouldn’t have it any other way
Sitting on the couch
Analyzing plays
Wondering if his bad passing is merely a phase
Hot, fresh pizza
Green, glowing jello
Glass after glass of Coca Cola
The Couch is sleep Soothing
But I’m wide awake my team’s reputation
At stake
How many more
Turnovers can I take?
I saw my first safety ever,
But something else
Takes the cake
Spending time with my dad, seeing passion
In his blue eyes
I love him more than
Life itself, my smile is proof
Ode to football with
My dad – you, dad, made me
Motivated, sharp, a good
Debater, analyzer, captivated,
Focused and determined
You gave me my voice of skepticism and passion
To go 4th and goal
Causes an interception
Run 108 yards back
Beautiful deception
Touchdown for us
Game is secured
Till next week
Ode to football with my dad
To the next game, and the hundreds after.

Panic cord

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There is “fear”

And there is fear like that kind

The fear where you cannot see straight 

The fear that swallows you whole

The fear that makes breathing impossible 

I do everything that can think of 

Then 

I pull the panic cord

Just hearing my dad’s voice calms me down and I follow his advice

I take a shower

I go for a walk

I drink a glass of water

And I feel shaky

But after I sleep 

And the day is new 

I’m glad I pulled the panic cord 

The release made me feel renewed

Balloon

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Spinning swinging swirling
Watching it
Spinning swinging swirling
Azure blue and Kelly green
Sparkle and shine
The only happy thing
Floating
Watching over my dad
He sleeps uncomfortably
Dreams of being free
Out of the hospital
And so it spins
Never loses always wins
Everyone smiles briefly when they see it
And the message is universal:

GET WELL SOON!