and was a grifter
on the side.
Dad took me to the Drive-In
every weekend in the spring.
My father cranking Bob Seger,
his hair puffed out the sides
of his Red Sox cap
that leaned down over a
thick black mustache.
Me, filthy from an afternoon
of Bazooka Joe BMX bike riding
with wild friends.
with a giant clunker of a speaker attached,
and put it on the window.
The smell of popcorn
and hotdogs wrapped in tinfoil
flowed into our noses.
Chemical sticks lit on the dashboards
of every car to keep away the mosquitoes
ate away at our pores.
Indiana Jones or Gremlins,
but the first movie was before my time.
My father, who talked too much,
never said a word during the first movie.
He only rolled a joint with one hand,
and watched. His silence, curiosity,
and his need to be lost, made me
want to feel the same.
I wanted to surrender like him
into a movie I had never seen
or heard about:
The Wild Bunch,
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly;
never made much sense.
We were connected by what we
had seen: Bandits in their final duels,
Men both young and old,
trying to adapt to a changing world.
A world that never accepts,
a world that only guns you down in the end.
Leaving you cold, broke, bitter, alone,
no words between us,
until I eventually opened my mouth
"Dad, I have to pee," I'd tell him.
And without a word, he leaned down
into the front seat, picked up
an empty Coke can
and handed it to me.
He was still trying to live inside
the movie. Trying to forget
the war. Not Vietnam,
but the war that rages
inside us all.
An empty war that is nearly impossible
A war that I now feel