Late at night, past any teenager's
My friend Chris tells me that
Punks don't have parents.
People who were raised right
Don't shoot off fireworks at shows,
Destroy shopping carts,
Weigh their jackets down with studs,
Or listen to Minor Threat.
The last time I saw my father,
He punched me in the face.
I once heard a comedian say that
He did not want to be
The kind of dad that inspires art.
My dad called my brother Jake a fag
Back when he had pink hair,
So Jake used it in a song and
Stormed out of the auditorium
Once he was done screaming along to the guitar.
I can't remember how many times
My mother threatened to leave when I was growing up,
Or how many times I found myself on the floor under her,
Learning just how sorry I was supposed to feel.
Open handed blows only –
She was the good parent, after all.
My childhood taught me that
No good came from talking to social workers.
Well, I did tell that one that he saved my life,
But he was never on my case.
He just writes nice little songs about
Lynching, meth, and never meeting his real father.
It would be too optimistic
To hope that my parents made me
A stronger poet.
That would be giving a lot of credit to
Alcohol and the United States military,
Red wine and grey gun oil,
That I'm not ready to give.