Early in my college days, I used a manual typewriter. I'd compose a cover-letter and type two copies of my most recent poem, fold them, stick them in an envelope, lick a stamp, and mail my creation to the editor or publisher of some small magazine in the hope that I'd be published.
I was published with sufficient frequency that I kept at it, though all I ever really wanted to do was play in a band. I wrote poetry because it was a solitary activity, and I was good at being alone.
"My Father's Monologue on Thanksgiving" caught the attention of a visual artist who created a limited-edition of a poster-sized image including this poem. I think the artist's name was Harry Polkinhorn.
Anyhow, I used to have an auditory memory as good as a tape-machine. I'd eavesdrop on conversations and transcribe them verbatim in my little notebooks, then take the "found" words and whittle them into something resembling poetry.
"My Father's Monologue on Thanksgiving" was, in fact, the product of my father's babbling. He'd sit at the kitchen table and talk to himself. The words of the poem are his. The refrain of the song is mine. And the narrative that precedes the song/poem is a composite of actual events.
More than one person who knew my dad told me he was the toughest person they ever knew.
I hope this piece honors him.
I promised myself that I would post one video per week from Red Beets & Horseradish. Let me know what you think.