It's just poetry, it won't bite

Letter for My Father

01.03.12 Posted in today's words by

Maxwell Baumbach’s most recent poem to appear here was Lessons Learned by a Fifth-Grader, one of vox poetica’s 2011 Pushcart Prize nominees.

Letter for My Father
By Maxwell Baumbach

my dad spoke to me hypothetically
and hypothetically
I was listening

he watched me fail
he watched me grow up
and fuck up

I got sent home from school
because I tried too hard
to write punch lines
as a means of compensating 
for being one

he tore into me
and I cried
and I cried because he was right
and I was wrong

I always tried to make sure 
it was someone else
but the root of all my problems
was me

and from me
grew a tree
of unripe and overly ripe
that loved ones
picked off and ate
believing in its nutritional value
only to find the dead worm at the center
after they had consumed it for all it was worth

when I ran out of my dorm room
I puked

with my head above the toilet
I thought non-hypothetically
and I started living
in actuality
with the wisdom
that he had tried to instill in me
from that first moment
I defied him

I got into shape
physically and mentally
defeated obesity
defeated myself
got a 4.0
loved someone
loved people I hated
and wore my failures
like a tattoo

my failures are my greatest possession

without them and without him
I would be nothing

2 Responses to “Letter for My Father”

  1. Gracie says:

    This poem is so very wonderful!

  2. bobbie troy says:


Latest Podcast Episode
vox poetica archives