Vox Humana

My father was born on April Fools Day. I had a vexed relationship with him, which smoothed out only a few years before he died. As much my fault as his, no doubt - I find myself more like him than I wanted to be.

I wrote this poem about him:

Vox Humana

There's a cartoon: a man wrapped in a tuba,
its horn gaping above his head.
He sits across from a fortune-teller's
scarf-wrapped hair, hooked nose, hoop earrings.
She looks into her crystal ball and says,
"I see an empty neighbourhood."

Someone slipped it under our door
when my father bought the electric organ.
He would pull out Vox Humana for a heavy tremolo,
turn up the volume, and fumble
through Seasons in the Sun,
or Send in the Clowns.

The thing he knew best was that he had failed,
but he didn't know he couldn't play the organ.
He drove me crazy with his dreams, his pretentions.
When he was alive I made a clown of him,
told stories about him to my friends.

Now he seems like a man with a heavy tuba,
the Tuba of Failed Aspiration. He's sitting at a table,
staring at a crystal ball, hoping for anything
he hasn't seen before.

1 comment:

Grace said...

I love this. Something about the man with tuba invokes a sense of times past so vividly.

Have a great day.