It was my father’s 60th birthday yesterday & all he got was this lousy poem; he asked for it though.
An Occasional Poem for Pa’s 60th Birthday
Well, as requested, here y’go Pa
: i bought (yes bought) & read, a copy
of Birthday Poem Ideas for Sons
Considering Occasional Poems rather
than Buying a Real Gift Bi-annual Magazine
— not an easy subscription to get your mitts on.
i wish i knew what you were expecting,
& in the replicable show-boating
of a proper libertine son, do the opposite
: to illustrate that you raised a son
who can think for himself, hold his own
when the world presses its issues
against the palms of his hands.
i’m not there, you have no doubt
noted this, because you have to read
this poem instead, which i have done my best
not to make a drivel steeped pile of shite.
To inject it with a syringe of giggles
& some nifty vocab; to show you
that you raised a fascinating specimen
of Homo Sapien; none of that test tube rubbish
coming up in the ranks of futurity.
i’m not there, i should be. i’m always sorry.
But i’ve worked hard on this, so…
you best be grateful & not bellyache
to mom; note what i’ve just said, which
can be surmised: independent, Herculean,
dashingly handsome, cunning as Ulysses,
as swift of wit as Wilde & as nauseating
as an iffy kebab after a few too many lagers.
You raised me. You’ll never forget me,
when everyone else has grown sick
of me, you’ll always be there, you
have invested a whole life to the project,
spoon-fed me, nappy-changed me, hand-held
me— do you realize what one hand can do
says the Korean poet Kim Seung-hee;
i think i can understand that line more
if i try to put myself in the boots of a dad.
So you are 60 & what am i to give you?
That’s how this birthday malarkey works.
i’m no good at this. i’m bloody awful, i conclude.
i have joked, apologized, wrote a long
winded literary spectacle that elicits gasps
as honest as a swig of Banks’s;— i could send a DVD
you’ll watch once, a book you may never read;
but really the best i can muster, is to say,
happy birthday Pa, love Dan.