Art Gephyr

I Am Way too Polite

I had lunch with your father
but I couldn't stand it.
Your father reminds me
so much of my father
only he is your father, not mine
so I didn't have to stand it,
except I did, out of politeness.

I am way too polite.

He was talking
babbling and dribbling
both words and food spattering
about his lips and chin
in a half-chewed monologue
about what is in a name.
I was content to have stopped
with Shakespeare;
however, his purpose was not about names,
but rather an "elder" educating a "novice".

So the monologue continued
with how a name is language
and all language is connected
across the world
across all species
across time and space
so that I quickly understood
that his definition of language
was ambiguous and imprecise,
tangled with half-truths
isolated and meshed out of context
from respectable fields.
Painfully aware
of both our ignorance
I resigned myself to patiently wait
until your father satisfied himself.

Your father
reminds me so much of my father.
Just yesterday, mine was explaining
How stars emit dust--
star dust--
that go right through us
but we don't sense them.
But every once in a while
no matter how small the dust
they should hit something
so therefore we should sense them
and it gives us feelings...
When we die, our energy converts
back to heat, back to star dust.
It is this dust that you feel,
this sensation when you sit
next to a grave and feel a presence,
a force of the person that once was.
It is this dust touching you.

Except, I said,
that everything is star dust,
you and me,
the air we breath and food we eat,
the phone we are talking on,
the chairs we sit on,
the entire earth,
with rocks and mountains and dirt
and yes, part of the body converts to heat
but that is because we are being digested
by bacteria and yeast, fungus and worms,
and part of what was us
becomes part of
bacteria and yeast, fungus and worms
the other children of star dust.

But these were not satisfying thoughts
for the real unmentionable issue
of where a dead relative goes
and worse, that we are next.
So I sat and half-way listened
on the phone
because all I need to say
is "I didn't know that"
and "You are right"
while reading something else.

Only I couldn't do that
with your father
sitting there beside me,
seeing what I was doing,
demanding my full attention
while he talked
babbled and dribbled
both words and food spattering
about his lips and chin
in a half-chewed monologue.
And as it takes fathers
A long time for them
to satisfy themselves
I became angry
that there was nowhere sane
for me to escape
and even angrier
that it was your father
not mine
that I had to be polite to.
So I sat there angry

Angry at myself
for being way too polite.