Posts Tagged ‘standing up to father’

David L. Allen 1946


The first time I overcame
My fear of my father
Was when I was 16
And he had just threatened
To take his belt off
To me again.

He was coming down
The stairs from the john
And he was making a motion
To take off that thick, ass-ripping
Garrison belt and I found something
Inside I never knew was there and yelled,
“Stop it! Just stop it!”
And he surprised me
By stopping and looked
At me with a question
In his eyes.

His oldest son had never talked back
Like that before. I’d always
Just meekly accepted the punishment.
I pushed the hate way down, thinking
I must have been bad to deserve this.
Not this time. I stood my ground.
“You know, I don’t respect you any more!”
I shouted.

It hung him up.
I don’t think he ever
Considered his kids
Should respect him,
Just obey.
This was a new concept.
“I don’t respect you!”
I yelled. “And I’m not
Going to listen to you any more!”

About 25 years later
My kid brother Rick and I
Coaxed him out of his bed tomb
And had him sit at the dining room table.
We told him we wanted to talk to him,
We wanted to hear the story of his life —
What was it like growing up on Long Island
During the Great Depression?
How was it to be a high school sports hero?
How did he feel when he had to give up college
Because his National Guard unit had been called up?
We wanted to hear about the war
And the struggle with too many kids,
Numerous jobs, and too much booze.
We wanted to get it all down
Before it was too late,
So we could share it with our children.

We wanted to listen
And he didn’t have anything
To say.

By David Allen