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fire is my father

i was small when you told me
you were a firefighter
and not a fireman.
that you fought,
did not become the thing
kept caged in the living room.
i looked at your boots
and believed them even though
you didn't talk about cutting holes into the skins
of triple deckers, carrying the weight of
three hundred pound grandmothers on your back.
they are not women like i am not women.
our girth made to be exacted
and our feet welded to pavement,
we do not fly
you are no flame.
the men you work with build shrines
like you build winter coals.
in their liquor dens, under glass
they keep
bagpipes, american nooses wound
wedding day perfect;
white gloved calluses, they clutch
laminated saint cards
pocketed like
pre-packaged prey,
spill-proof prayer;
these are your brothers.
the coldest day in september,
they found a kitten
burning against the engine
of an idling chevrolet.
they called you, doctor in a snowstorm,
they pointed at your college hands.
gentle excavation
drowsy love,
your coat made a soft home
in the noise of the boiler room.
so wrapped and fetal
i wanted to be that new.
i wanted to curl deep into your pocket
though i am
kindling kept
high on a shelf.

19 Oct 10

Rated 9 (8.4) by 1 users.
Active (1):
Inactive (8): 1, 1, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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 — _fallenleaf

can't help, but loved the read. I will have to re read because I don't understand it all at the moment, but that doesn't impede my senses of understanding the whole , if you see what I mean. I love the melancholy, and the lyricism. ' iwanted to be that new' is perfect.  
l 12 confuses me. in what weay are you not 'women'?
 — crimsonkiss

thank you so much for the read and the thoughts!
L12 is talking about how this father cannot see the people he saves as real people. the same applies to his family. my father was a firefighter, and i always felt something in common with the men and women he pulled from buildings. heavy .. not entirely there.

i was worried initially about the stanzas and how different they are - can you still get the sense of a whole poem?
and also the kitten business, haha. that really happened, but i'm a bit concerned that it pushes the melancholy into a pretty sappy place.
 — _fallenleaf

This is beautiful.  I love how you've woven so many firey references into this poem.  It's hot and it's cool all at the same time, but remains true to your childhood memories of him.  My favorite L's are 9 & 10.  "The skins of triple deckers" is amazing in itself!  Great writing there!  Also, I'm surprised you never mentioned ashes or sparks!  This is TIGHT!  You should be so proud of it!  :-)
 — starr

attention to detail, and a good deal of work in this piece, but are you still writing around the conceit instead of through it?
 — NicMichaels

I think you were always in his pocket, so deep so he could not loose you while he was out there saving people, be proud of yourself, you left a great monument writing your feelings and thoughts  in his honor. The title is quite good and you will always be his child. Thank you so much, you write with your heart!
 — Hulda


More decent than the rest I read.

Foshie Z.
 — aliar

oyoy. Also, lol @ NicMichaels. It's funny how YOU STILL HAVEN'T CHANGED.

It's understandable to troll BAD poetry, but why do you troll GOOD poetry? Is it some form of insecurity?

 — aliar