“To My Father” by Ben Brandstein

Like an autumnal leaf

Gently waltzing with the wind

Here and there, until coming to rest

In a pool of water, causing the aquatic reflector

To wrinkle; I think of you and it takes some time

To remember to forget about you.

Would you be proud?

Would you praise or condemn these fingers

That feel whole when perched on a pen and not pig skin?

Cuticles stained with ink,

Trenches occasionally occupied by nylon.

Would you teach me anything significant?

I shaved with the help of magazines.

I learned how to treat a woman from the way

Clark Kent embraced Miss Lane.

The transcendent value of a dollar was taught to me

By a prepubescent entrepreneur across the street

Desperate for the missing quarters his lemonade was worth.

So what would you give me? Lessons? Gifts?

Happiness? A harmonic resonance to eradicate

These moments of dissonance?

Or perhaps your greatest gift was absence.

Instead of a young, pliable counterpart I am

Myself. My own source of instruction.

But when I am blessed with a child of my own

I will provide them with every single moment

I wish I could have had with you.

Ben Brandstein

Photograph by VC Ferry

© 2011

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11 comments

  1. lkthayer · March 21, 2011

    Ben, your poem gave me chills
    “Or perhaps your greatest gift was absence.”
    I can relate…thank you for such strong work
    you are a remarkable poet. Welcome to
    The Juice Bar! Lisa 🙂

  2. lkthayer · March 21, 2011

    Thank you VC for this amazing photograph, I am your biggest fan. 🙂

  3. Susan Hayden · March 21, 2011

    Ben, I’ve already told you how I feel about your work (in person) –Your depth and soul astound me–and yet, make complete sense.

    I will never forget your mother bringing you to Poetry In Motion when you were days old and holding you in her arms as she read her own gorgeous words.

    Clearly this poem speaks to me and in particular, Mason, and his now-fatherless journey. I can’t wait to read and hear more of your poetry.

    Love from S.H.

  4. Alexis Rhone Fancher · March 21, 2011

    You have tapped into what’s missing and made it whole. Terrific poem, Ben.

  5. VC · March 21, 2011

    beautiful LK!!

    • lkthayer · March 21, 2011

      Love this poem
      With your foto
      Thanks VC!
      Sent on the Now Network from my Sprint® BlackBerry

  6. Julie · March 21, 2011

    Oh, Ben, this is extraordinary! This killed me:

    I shaved with the help of magazines.
    I learned how to treat a woman from the way
    Clark Kent embraced Miss Lane.
    The transcendent value of a dollar was taught to me
    By a prepubescent entrepreneur across the street
    Desperate for the missing quarters his lemonade was worth.

    So much said in so very little.
    Bravo!

    J

  7. Adrian Cunningham · March 21, 2011

    Love it!

  8. kay · March 21, 2011

    Wow. Heart-wrenching and beautiful.

  9. Roz Levine · March 21, 2011

    Ben,
    I love your images and the heart and soul in this poem.
    So glad to see your work at the Juice Bar.
    Roz

  10. stevie · March 22, 2011

    Ben I can not even put into words how deeply touched i am by your work your soul and the goodness you project as a human being.
    You are humble wise beyond your years.
    This poem touched me very deeply.
    This closing says so much
    “But when I am blessed with a child of my own

    I will provide them with every single moment

    I wish I could have had with you.”
    Wow.Economy of language rich textured astounding simple yet brilliant.
    Thank you so much for your reading and your sharing for sensing others needs and listening to them.
    You have tapped into an ever flowing stream and you can nourish and be nourished by this constant movement and sense of what can only be hinted at in words and phrases that leave the receiver of your poem
    the possibility of continuing to live in it.
    Love to you and good wishes for a grand life.
    When i meet someone lie you I feel hope in the world.

    LOve
    Stevie
    Stephen

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