Double Sided

Double Sided, By Brian37(AKA Brian James Rational Poet on FB/META and @brinrrs37 on Twitter)

Your themes of love and hate
Being the same epithet
Herr dear sperm donor
Herr beloved father

You were mad
You didn’t get to know him
He morphed into the Fuhrer
The wretched marriage between life and death

The angel food cake
The frosting black snake
The baker lied to you
Wine glass filled with cobra’s brew

Punching down the cap
The cork bouquet, city sewer rat
Rotted plumbs make you numb
Saki, the oven’s hari-kari

Not disemboweled, yet quite clean
Dandelions invade plush green
Deceptive to say, you wanted to breath
Lucifer and God, both on the same team

You couldn’t face either
Both were the enemy and suitor
Belonging to the same union
Wedding ring onyx coal ash

But which one to join?
Torn between two lovers
Reviled, the tag team players
Not an episode of Survivor

When I was slightly older
Hess was my father
A high school biology teacher
His students knew nothing of Amon Göth

When not in front of class
60 orbs could not observe
Colleagues also unaware
The beatings I had to bare

He swam every day
In the red and white label
The toppled hour glass
Black widow red beer gut

In one old faded photo
Of me he held on his shoulders
I looked like I couldn’t be happier
But I lived in Goring’s museum

He told me tall tales
Of his North Korea service
How he lost three digits
And partial left ear hearing

Proud to be a Marine
Anchor skewered earth
Eagle perched magnetic north
He really did once serve

But combat he never saw
The truth was a bandsaw
In shop class, he turned it on
Distraction, 3 fingers gone

Desperate so to please
I was quiet as can be
When his eyes grew bloodshot
Slurred speech, ink blots

I didn’t know
What I had done
I was David Banner’s son
Herr McGee got nothing done

If it had pleased him
Under my fingernails
He’d have shoved
Slivers of bamboo too

Brass knuckle words
Intolerant of my sensitivity
Mounting insecurity
Why did he adopt me?

One day he left
And never came back
My mom lied to me
About how he really died

At first confused
Feeling abandon
Angry for that
Glad now, he was gone

The abuse lingers on
Held hostage by my neurons
My life his transplanted liver
Hannibal’s fava bean cage

I had to mind his drawings
My head in a jar
In cobwebbed antique car
Formaldehyde lily pad self storage

I can now only manage
The snarling growling
Howling rabid memory
Of what that coyote did to me

Fleeting electron smiles
In Whitehall Bay, I’d sale for a while
In a dinghy, he bought me as a child
Glistening sunlit waters, briefly escaped his bile.

My dad turned into a monster when he got drunk. His students never knew the real him, nor did his fellow teachers. But I was painfully aware of what a bully he was. It really hurt when his kids lavished praise on him to me, because that made me feel like I was broken. I know now it was not me, he was just using them to protect himself. Plath and I of course lead very different lives. She excelled at academics while I struggled. We both were raised middle class. Our dads died while we were young. But that is where the similarities end. Plath never really got to know her dad, but I did. I can however agree with her love hate to some extent. My bastard of a father did buy me nice things, like the small boat, I used to sale solo to get away from him for a morning afternoon. But I can so much feel her imagery of the love/hate complex with her father.

You’d have to read her poems “Daddy” and “Colossus” to get her imagery. But my dad became the “Hulk” when he got drunk, and not in a good way. He drank Budweiser, thus the “red and white” label, and the black widow hour glass reference to the red label hour glass Bud had. And of course the “Hannibal” reference is to the movie “Silence Of The Lambs”. My choices under him, were to be quiet, stay away from him, only play happy with me when he needed a prop to impress his friends. Or go outside and get beaten up by the bullies, or stay inside and eventually get beaten by him.

I outgrew my fear of him long since. But you don’t get over it. I still have anxiety and trust issues even 40 years later.

“Punching down the cap” is a method of grape crushing for making wine. People no longer use their feet for sanitary reasons. It is usually now a wooden or metal pole with a flat disk with holes in it to push the grapes down in a vat. “City sewer rat” is basically the dark thoughts Plath had about that finally and unfortunately caught up with her.

The third stanza again, is basically the bittersweet notion of what joy she was/is to read, but again, the dark side caught up to her. The WW2 references are about her poems, and her grappling with her German heritage knowing what the Nazis had done. Her dad of course, was not part of that though. Amon Göth was a death camp commander and subsequently tried and executed after his capture at the end of WW2. My dad was a bully, and that Is why I equated him to Hess and Göth.

3 responses to “Double Sided”

  1. It was difficult to click on ‘like’ on this post, Brian, not because this wasn’t a powerful and honest account of your relationship with your evil father, but because he was a bastard, by the sound of it, and I also say that because of what you’ve shared with me about him previously. You didn’t deserve to have the torment and pain he put you through – no child should have been subjected to that sort of wickedness. It must have been a constant waking nightmare living with him. I get why you link your ‘father’ with Hess and Goth (I don’t know how to get those two dots over the ‘o’). I’m not surprised that you still struggle with anxiety and trust issues. I’m so sorry you had to experience this trauma. Take care of yourself, Brian. You are worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I survived, and while I don’t like to see anyone die, I was relieved that he died in my early teens. He was an alcoholic and died from cancer, b/c of both the heavy drinking and smoking.

      It isn’t to stigmatize addiction, just to condemn the physical abuse. Most addicts are not violent, unfortunately he was to me.

      The poem was comparing my life in remembering distinctly and that of Sylvia Plath who had very little memory of her dad and he died when she was younger.

      She never spoke ill of him other than his missing in her life loomed large over her and that ghostly missing of him in her life haunted her as a void, so she had this frustrating dichotomy of loving him on the one hand, and hating him for not being part of her life.

      So it is an example as to how a bad parent can affect a child, and a mystery parent at the same time can affect a child. We both ended up having mental health issues for different reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

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