Frank Reardon


Years before I knew he cracked safes
and was a grifter 
on the side.
Dad took me to the Drive-In 
double feature 
every weekend in the spring. 
We'd pull into the Starlite
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.
We'd park next to a metal pole
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.
I was excited to see the movie of the time,
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;
Dirty Harry.
Later on the second movie
never made much sense.
We were connected by what we 
had seen: Bandits in their final duels,
epic, relentless. 
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,
sometimes dead.
And there we sat, Father and Son,
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 
to win.
A war that I now feel
and fight

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