Dog house


My uncle, Frank, used to talk about being in the dog house

When we all lived together growing up,

He was ten years older than me,

With pretentions of becoming an artist or musician

While everybody else, but me, thought him crazy.


A mountain of a man, Frank did the work of three men

And my grandfather never let him forget it,

“What do you need to be an artist for,

When you can work like that?” he said.


Sometimes, I posed in the kitchen for Frank,

Glorious morning light fall over us and the tiles

With Frank desperate to capture it all,

But never could.


Sometimes, he even let me hold his guitar

Putting my fingers in the right places

So I could make chords

Only my chords never sounded

As his chords did,

And he said his chords

Were never good enough


I loved that man better than a father

Because he was the father I never had

But he was always down on himself,

Always in the dog house, he claimed

Always trying to make up for flaws

Other people saw in him,

But I could never see


He claimed he always said and did

The wrong things at the wrong time

And always felt bad about it,

Worse than grandpa could make him feel


“You can’t feel good about yourself

When you know you’ve done wrong,

And don’t know what you can do

To make it right again,” he said.


For years, I didn’t understand what he meant,

But now I do,

Because I’m the one in the dog house now,

And don’t know any more than Frank did

how to get myself out.




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