Hung Fat and Lazy, #184

The wife gone, I wander home
to an apartment, empty,
to spend some quality time
with me, myself and I. Plop
down on the sofa and let
the filth grow up around me,
like a rusted out train car
abandoned in a field
left on the last piece of track.
It would stay like that, but for
a fat, juicy fly that’s found
its way inside our abode,
and showing itself around.
Me, being the pacifist
that I am in my quiet,
mild mannered persona
decide to live and let live,
figuring the house is big
enough to share. Two men
left alone in space too much
for either or both. On days
when my mother and sisters
would go to get their hair done
my father and I would sit
quiet in the living room,
he behind a book and me
prostrate before the alter
of television, watching
baseball or an Atari.
The accords hold as long as
each agrees to not invade
neighboring territory.
So I sit meandering
through channels. The fly hangs out
over the garbage growing
in the kitchen, our only
interaction arises
when I need something to eat
or he needs a breath of air.
But soon, the fly becomes bored
and hops a red eye to see
what I’ve been watching. At first
I don’t notice, so he flies
closer, lands on the sofa,
circles me like an airport
as I swat unconsciously
the room around me. The fly
will not be ignored and when
I get up to make a sandwich
he is there, and when I leave
to go to the bathroom, he
is there and when I lay down
in bed to read, he is there,
like the voice of my deceased
father long gone all these years
but still buzzing in my head,
in every room, he is there.
The fly is an animal
thriving off humanity,
built as a nasty foil
to each of our bad habits.
As we discard more and more
refuse, the fly multiplies,
laying her eggs at the peak
of our awful existence,
feeding the generations
on our discarded treasures,
and when that generation
rises, they buzz round our heads
as horrendous annoyance,
as taunt and tease, as genies
that we can hear, but not see,
who offer no wishes, just
their sad grating companies.
My father, whom I never
saw eye to eye with in life,
whose views of the world, whose sick
views of the world were an old
ugliness that will not die
in us, that seem to rise up
in times of crisis, add up,
multiply and divide us.
My father, to whom I’m sure
my new fangled, my love
of things tattered, of people
brown and oppressed, of weaklings
and hippy chicks, whiny gay
boys and Birkenstock sandals,
of butch women, their guitars
and of all art. My father
who loved me dearly, to him
I am sure I was a fly.
To me, he, as sure as shit
was a fly. And since his death
his voice and his arrogance,
his big bully hands and old
southern ideals, his red state
mentality and his stench
have lived on, have haunted
me like a dream. Even though
I have found room to forgive,
to understand, to forget,
to realize he was trapped
in a decaying world view
that was soon food for the flies,
his infernal buzzing round
my head injures me. And so,
after hours of torment
(and the end of my movie),
I head for a snack. The fly
is there again, buzzing low
to the ground, under radar.
But then he rises, dive-bombs
and escapes, a world war two
veteran. On his second pass
I become King Kong, my dad’s
temper welling up. Swinging
and miss, swing and miss, attempt
to walk away (my mother’s
strategy). In the bedroom,
in the dining room. My dad
telling me how big of a
disappointment I am. How
I am not living up to
potential. Buzzing around
whispering, you are lazy,
put the remote down, pick up
your pen, read more, write something,
stop wasting your life. The fly
is an animal thriving
off humanity, built as
a nasty foil to all
of our bad habits. As we
discard more and more refuse,
the fly multiplies, laying
her eggs at the peak of our
awful existence. My dad
was a squat and rotund man
who buzzed through this life leaving
passed his prime. How many times
can you lament the dying
culture, the oh-so-humble
gone days, an America
falling away, our white sheets
strained and worn thread bare, tainted
with unbleachable stains? We
can’t get the dirty earth
out. The fly hangs out over
the garbage growing in the
kitchen, our only conflict
arises when I go to
grab something to eat or he
needs a breath of air. And so
we end up in the bathroom,
me cleaning out the meal
I ate for dinner and him
investigating the tub.
I close the door, realize
we are alone, there’s nowhere
for him to go, no cranny
or nook to hide in. I pray
to my father, my anger
at his anger, wish I had
the wisdom of my mother.
Instead I chase him around
these confines like a crazy
convict. Kill the fly. Murder
the fly. How many times, Dad,
after you’re dead can you haunt
me? I can’t catch up. The fly
is too fast, has too many
eyes, so I plop to the floor
exhausted. The fly settles
in the far corner. I grab
a bath-towel to wipe down
shampoo spilt in the first round.
When the bell buzzes, the fly
gets back up, but I just sit,
towel in hand. I’m cheating,
not working to potential.
In one felled swoop through the air
the fly is dead. I crumple
and flush him. How often can
I kill my father? Once more.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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