Trimmed Wings

By | 1 July 2009

From my father I got
Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Joplin.
I found them shrunk with the cold,
dusted on his writing desk
underneath old newspapers,
bills, blunt pencils, inkless pens,
accounts of unrealised genius
and corpses of cockroaches.

He hid them – stained with coffee,
Western voices
stamped on samizdat cassettes
with Russian lettering and fake covers.
He was too shy to let me know
that once he could make love
to the sounds
of the same music
I do.

Who would think there were times
when my father
wore dancing jeans
underneath the mirrored balls
of Siberian nightclubs,
where tattooed DJs
had to swear loyalty
to the international struggle
of the working class
if they wanted
to keep
their jobs.

My father
with his trimmed beard
and trimmed wings
and sadness
that will suffice for all of us.
When you were my age
You had to write
Whatever they ordered you
If you wanted
to keep
your job.

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