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Poem: Dear Father, Who Never Loved Me

By: Joseph S. Pete


Dear father who ostensibly never loved me,
you valued your vast accumulation of neckties over me,
your slighted son.

You swaddled yourself in silks and solid colors,
Jerry Garcia ties, World Wildlife Foundation benefit ties,
bold ties, everyday ties, courthouse ties, soiree ties,
ties plucked from bargain bins and purchased from tony department stores
where pushy clerks spritzed you with acrid plumes of cologne.

You’re dead now
haphazardly embalmed and rotting,
and I’m adrift in the sea of neckties you left behind
in these quiet, moth-kissed closets,
sorting through what’s still fashionable
and what will end up dumped in plastic drawstring trash bags at Goodwill.

You were such a materialist, maybe even a hoarder,
but couldn’t have stinted more on affection for me.
you withheld approval and branded me a disappointment.

I blame you for this unsightly melodramatic streak
and childish impulse toward finger-pointing.
Like you, I adorn myself in frippery
before passing under the lintel.


Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary work and photography have appeared or are forthcoming in Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Perch Magazine, Rising Phoenix Review, Chicago Literati, Absurdist Mag, Dogzplot, Bull Men’s Fiction, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, Lumpen, The Rat’s Ass Review, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. He once wrote an author bio that just trailed off…




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