Wednesday, 21 October 2015

On The Confessional Mode Of My Poetry

My tidy psychiatrist
in his well- appointed rooms
along the highway between
the blue-ribbon suburbs of this town
tells me to write to my father, my
dead father, dead since I was fourteen.

In poems
I have written to my father
in that false voice I tell all who listen
is the one I tell the truth in.
Without props or attitude,
I address the ghost
in my veins.

Father is a baggy-trousered
clown, his tragic short life
a modern cliche; Father
Mother's one true love who outlived him
thirty years without loving again.
Proudly I tell of our house,
river at our feet, the yacht clubs,
sports cars parked like a used car lot
in our frontyard. I bell the words
as I weep for my cold days...
I'd be a screw-loose if it was all so sad.
I look for the good times and hear
myself singing beside the river,
walking on stones, searching
for rock crabs, squinting
in the sun's knives.

Because he is lost
I search for my young self, and turn
the empty years over and over
in these pages
white as hospital sheets.

My psychiatrist's a fool,
I don't make another appointment.
Three weeks later I write,
Dear Father
How sick I get of your ghost ...

(Andrew Burke)

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