A Millennium of Shadows, Pt. 7 (Poetry)


When I enter my father’s apartment,
I see him sitting on the living room sofa
As he smokes a cig in front of a full ashtray.
He is wearing a tattered grey sweater
And baggy jeans with holes in the knees.

I intended to ignore him and walk away,
But he wipes his eyes and intercepts me.
This old man always looked tired and worn;
Now he is paler than I have ever seen him,
With dark circles under his eyes,
Which are bloodshot and teary.
He’s also unshaven, and he smells awful.

“You just don’t care at all anymore,” he mutters,
“Coming back home in the middle of the morning.”
I’m disturbed because the old man had cried,
As evidenced by the dry trails of tears,
And I’m also embarrassed by his appearance.

“What’s the matter now?” I ask, annoyed.
“What’s the matter? You should be in school.”
I scratch my head. What day is it today?
“Yeah, well, I’m not going to school anymore.”

My father frowns, and takes a drag on his cig
With a hand that shivers as if he were freezing.
“I thought you would deny it.
I called, you know, and they told me
That you haven’t attended for weeks!
You even missed vital exams!”

I sigh. What a bother, dealing with this clown
For who the opening of a bakery is an event.
“There’s no such thing as a vital exam
For someone who won’t pursue an education.”

My father frowns, clenches his teeth,
Then throws his cig into the ashtray.
“So what now, are you just going to drop out?
Don’t you care at all about your future?”

“First of all, no, I don’t give a fuck
About whatever you would consider ‘a future’.
People abandon their kids in school
Because homeschooling is no longer a thing.
Most families require two salaries to survive,
So they need to park their kids somewhere,
And it’s convenient for the state, of course:
It wants to decide what goes into our heads.

As a result your vulnerable son ended up caged
Among wild beasts who mocked and insulted me,
Causing me mental issues that will never heal.
As students, we were mere recipients of nonsense
Meant to raise obedient, harmless slaves
That will vote for the government and shut up
Instead of taking arms and hanging them,
Which is what all of that rotten scum deserves.

If I bothered to suffer through my education,
The day I would start my life as a wage slave,
I would discover that beyond basic math,
Nothing else I had learned would ever help.
I would have just wasted many precious years
To receive some papers that certify me as a fool.”

Before I finished speaking,
My father grabbed his head
And walked to the sofa as he grunted.
He plops down and hunches over,
His elbows resting on his knees,
And then he stares at the floor.

“I can’t believe you’re so stupid.
Or maybe this is all my fault.
I raised you all by myself,
So this must have been my failure.”

Maybe I should get mad, but I don’t care.
Nothing about this rotten world concerns me.
In a short while, Glyca and I will be gone,
Maybe to Russia or Australia or the moon,
Where we’ll run around, eat people and fuck.

“Why would you be surprised about failing at this?
Haven’t you failed at everything else?
Besides, you can relax. I don’t need an education.
For the first time in my life, I’m truly happy.”

My father snorts derisively, and raises his voice.
“Happy? How could you possibly be happy?
Your face is full of the worst kind of acne,
Your mother abandoned us early on,
You are a loner who’s never had any friends,
You have thrown away your future,
And I’m sure you plan to never get a job.
You’ll end up dead in a ditch somewhere.
Do you think I want that to happen to you?”

“You are worrying for nothing, dad.
I’m doing great. I have a lovely girlfriend
Who loves me, and accepts me for who I am.”
My father buries his face in his hands.
“I guess this is psychosis,” he mutters bitterly,
“Or however they call it when someone loses it.
Yet, you disappear for hours who knows where,
Although several people have gone missing lately.”

“You don’t have to worry about me disappearing,
Because my girlfriend is the one eating people.”
My father rubs his eyes, then stands up wearily.
Although he turns towards me, he avoids my gaze.
“Are you doing drugs? Is that what’s going on?
You are mentally absent, and walk awkwardly…”

I chuckle at the irony of me doing drugs
When I’ve been involved in reducing
The number of drug-related people that live.
“I walk weird because my body is adapting
To me having stuff shoved deep into my ass.
But I’m only taking in my girlfriend’s tail!
I’m not going around getting fucked by men.”

My father facepalms, then groans.
“What are you talking about?
You aren’t making any damn sense!”
He sniffles and wipes his eyes.
“I’m taking you to see a doctor,
That one who once prescribed you pills.”

“You’re crazy, dad. I’m not sick in the head.
I have no reason to go see a shrink.
Besides, they prescribe shit carelessly;
It may make my dick shrink even smaller.”

My father paces back and forth,
Then he sniffs loudly, and says,
“Look at me. I’m bald, I’m a mess.
I could never keep a job long enough.
I’ve got nothing to do but sit around
And smoke one cigarette after another.

I’ve always hated my fucking life.
Ever since I was a child, back at home,
I’ve been dreaming of death;
In my mind, Death is a beautiful woman
Who wears black clothes, carries a scythe,
Has silver gray hair and blood red eyes.

Death smiles at me, and she doesn’t judge.
She asks if I would like to dance,
And I say, “Yes, I’d love to.”
Death takes my hand, and we begin to spin.
We dance as we sing, we twirl and turn.
She tells me how she’ll take me away
From my father and all his brothers.
But in the end, it was another lie,
Just another person who betrayed me.

You need an education, son, and to find a job,
Or else you’ll end up like me, in a world of misery,
A place where nobody cares about you,
And when you die, they’ll throw your body in a hole
Where it will rot and stink, and nobody will mourn.”

I feel nothing but disgust and resentment.
I don’t know why I’m here. I should have left.
“There’s no such thing as a future in this place
For someone like me who despises humanity.
I guess you expect me to be sympathetic,
But if you yourself had gone to a shrink,
You’d have learned enough about yourself
To avoid getting together with my mother,
Which would have spared me this life
And all the nightmares I’ve endured through.
Just quit bitching, dad, and accept reality:
Your son is a dropout, and that’s fine,
Because a better destiny is waiting for me.”

My father clenches his fists
As he glowers coldly.
He strides up to me
And slaps me hard across the face.
Half a dozen of my huge pimples sting;
I bet they daubed his palm with pus.

My father wipes his hand on his pants.
“I’ve been too soft with you.
I should have made you be responsible,
Learn the value of work and sacrifice.
You were always alone and quiet,
And I was always tired, and sad myself.
Now you don’t know how to be an adult.
You’ll start by going to a trade school.
I don’t care what kind of shit you learn there,
As long as you can earn money and pay rent.”

Instead of words, I hear white noise.
My vision is tinted crimson red
As I feel the blood surging to my ears.
I see myself pulling out my bone shiv
And flaying my old man’s stupid face.
I see Glyca devouring my father’s flesh,
Then fabricating a chair out of his bones.

When my rage subsides, my father is quiet.
He’s staring anxiously at my expression
As if he suddenly regrets having been born,
But my mouth breaks into a wide grin.
My father will receive the worst punishment:
He’ll be left to keep enduring his life.

I turn around to leave this place
Hopefully for the last time.
“Fuck you, dad,” I say,
“And fuck your genes.”

‘A Millennium of Shadows, Pt. 7’ by Jon Ureña

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