Against the taste of my contempt
I grit my teeth, my jaw is clenched.
I try to savor that bitterness.
“This is youth. This is strength.”
Long ago, when I was younger,
I looked to him with awe and wonder.
His the shadow I stood under,
The gentle hands that fed my hunger.
A pack a day, and sometimes more.
I waged an endless, losing war;
Though I was older than before
My youthful words still went ignored.
One day I gave it up for lost.
But I didn’t reckon in the cost,
That when I let the subject drop
I’d admit he’d one day be not
And I hated him for it.
A few years more would pass
Before his first real heart attack.
He quit smoking after that,
But that didn’t really bring him back.
The gentle giant I knew is gone.
The man that’s left is pale and wan.
I make excuses, avoid, and run.
I skip a visit, another one.
He loves me still, as he did once.
My own heart does as it wants:
It hates the lonely ghost that haunts
Us all with moans and grunts.
Now in this room, I see him weak
The glaring truth we dare not speak.
The man that I once loved so sweet
Now rots away like so much meat.
And from that end I’m not exempt.
I’ll be there soon, but till I’m spent
I take refuge in my contempt;
This is youth, this is strength.