don’t accuse me…

Young adolescents fear looking different from the rest of the kids. This poem describes an experience I had in the seventh grade. At the time “cool” shoes were black slip-ons with a long and narrow look, ending with a pointed toe. It’s obviously a trivial thing, except if you’re the kid who’s wearing the “wrong” thing.

Much more serious was my father’s plight. During the Great Depression his father deserted his family of thirteen kids. Having to quit school in order to earn money for his family as a caddy didn’t seem to hurt my father for a while. He got to practice during slow times at the course and eventually earned his Class A PGA card in tournaments. He also worked his way from assistant to head pro. Dad even designed some courses. However, when he herniated a disc the pain was so severe he could no longer work as a golf pro.

So then what, for him and for his family? Golf was all he knew. Well, he didn’t desert us as some guys do. He did the right but difficult thing: he worked jobs that made him feel ashamed in order to support us.

 

don’t accuse me…

 

of being an ex-hippie…

‘cause dressing down held no appeal

for us who could never dress up.

my well-meaning mother

bought me black oxfords

navy surplus

with toes so bulbous

they looked like submarines

and when I floated them forward

through the halls of the junior high

I felt everyone staring

as they squeezed toward the walls

desperate to escape crushing

by those thick black soles

that I would‘ve hid

if I could’ve figured a way

to walk and hide my feet

at the same time.

 

but I’ve just written that into the past.

time to let go of sixty-year-old scars I say to myself.

 

yet I’ll never get over my father’s shame

as school janitor

my father with little school

with wife and sons to feed to clothe

and with daily courage

to work a job

scorned

by the soft-handed, ham-bellied

well-to-do

by the same chest-thumpers

who boast they value

hard work.

 

Published by

sanberdooboy

I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

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