commonly w. father

my birth father told me
-even as a child-
that he’d just rather
live life high
(he doesn’t know why)
but he’s doing the best he can////
i don’t believe him

i don’t say yes
when he passes me the pipe
and i hate when
he offers me a cigarette
and i take it///
we smoke together
i feel dirty
(i don’t know why)

determined to rot his lungs
since sixteen
(just like me)

alcoholic
vulgar misogynistic homophobic racist
promiscuous
empty promising
pot smoker
working overseas
living his time in foreign bars
since he lost the second love of his life
-the one after my mom-
(they both left for obvious reasons)
he says, ‘don’t be like me’
they warn, ‘don’t be like him’

he gives me anything i want
to make up for a rhythmic score of absence
life-long each year//
his job pays graciously
i feel guilty taking it
(i don’t know why, maybe it feels
like a hopeful tithe of repentance)

there has never been a memory left in my head
one where my father
didn’t have a Budweiser in hand/
he always looked surprisingly sober but
sometimes sleepy
no bed snore in armchair each night
in front of the tv, or
occasionally laughingdancing
and hugging painfully
effortlessly lifting
both me and my quiet younger half-brothers
B and D, often
sweatingcooking dinner all day it seems
and seldom,
but infuriatingly
irritable
-frightening and obscene-

i love him, i do
(i think)
but the words don’t like to come out so easily//
i say it back
after he says, ‘love ya kiddo’
the same way every time
standing outside with harsh tobacco
-Marlboro Reds from Indonesia-
and i say it back, ‘love you too, see you soon’
(it always comes out like that)
instead of how i tell my mom and step-dad
without even thinking,
‘i love you too’
(i don’t know why,
maybe cos he doesn’t even know me)

i really do love my father
(i swear, i’m pretty sure)
for his support and apologetic personality
but he is a father, not a dad to me-
his inabilities are plain,
he can’t even blame me
for taking my step-dad’s name///
he seems to me an eclectic uncle,
good intentions but
never quite grew up like everyone else
stuck in a dark room of mental un-health
(i never ask why)

but
sometimes i hate it
that i love to be high
n free
n without responsibilities
sometimes i hate when
he and i agree
on excessive nicotine or skipping sleep
(he doesn’t tell me to quit-
2am brings me a cup of coffee)

i try not to think that
he is an addict
and maybe i am too;
the mirrored offspring, true
to self-destructive
bipolar hypomanic
messes he left
in my head////

guilt darkens
as i age progressively,
because i hate when
he reminds me of me
(please, oh please,
don’t let my mother
see the similarities)

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