Will Thomas

My Father's Song - Poem by Will Thomas

Monday through Friday,
he was the salesman.
A 1954 two-door Ford,
robin's egg blue
stuffed high and forlorn
with sample cases
and cardboard-leather satchels.

Along the roads
of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio,
he was the tri-state man.

Sad, sleepy towns-
Flint, Elkhart, Toledo.
Not quite second-rate hotels,
fading carpet,
stooped and nicotined elevator boys.

Thin slice of life.

But on Saturday afternoons,
three or four highballs to the wind,
he wielded a battered old trombone:

against the silence of gone dreams,
against the crippling images
of long distance phone calls,
B-girls and boozy Catholic guilt,
against the crackling tin
of local radio stations,
bird shit and bugs,
drizzled across the windshield.

Gone dreams.
Gone dreams.

A thinning flannel shirt,
pleated brown pants
(shiny in the seat) ,
whiskey and water,
sweating circles on the coffee table,
two Lucky Strikes, smoldering
in an amber ashtray.

Hair mussed.
Eyes liquid.
Lips thick with Seagram's.
And the deep,
and plaintive whine
of a tarnished, unyielding trombone.

if ever a word meant anything,
if ever a word was right.

Comments about My Father's Song by Will Thomas

  • (3/4/2008 1:09:00 AM)

    Wonderful glimpse into a man's life. I know I had this two-dimensional view of my father, who he was, what his role in life was, and that view shifted as I entered my twenties and began to understand his choices and began to see him as more than just a hard working, stern dad. (Report) Reply

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  • (5/6/2006 1:27:00 PM)

    The words, '...thin slice of life', true maybe; painful truth depending.
    This poem reminds me of my own Dad, a working man with his own unrecognized gifts and unhidden foibles.
    The last words resonate sadly, powerfully.
    Thank you for this.
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/11/2005 6:39:00 AM)

    This is outstanding Will. It seems to me that the narration is that of an Everyman on an Everyman. There is a sense of Beat to this verse and it is not the inclusion of the trombone, that brings this to mind. It cries to be read aloud.


    Denis Joe
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, December 11, 2005

Poem Edited: Thursday, January 17, 2008

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