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city boy

for my dad

By Dane BHPublished 2 years ago Updated about a year ago 1 min read
city boy
Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

Dear Dad,

I had a root beer float at lunch today,

in a diner you’d have scoffed at

for making its living off nostalgia,

but you should know: it was IBC root beer,

a kind of genuine that gets lost in the Rockies,

the ladies who waited the tables were Midwest nice,

and the coleslaw was rich and tangy.

We’ve got two pieces of nostalgia

to wrap our teeth around – pastrami and ice cream,

K’nish Nosh and Hagen Daz. You don’t believe

in substitutions, New York boy, despite

twenty-five years raising kids in New Jersey,

with a front lawn and a backyard,

and freight trains instead of subways.

You raised your children on another planet,

with another language, another culture.

You were always half a stranger in the small town;

you smelled too anonymous for its ball fields.

How are you breathing in Boston?

Do the streets twist around your throat?

Do you choke on propriety

and skipped r’s? Are you starving for bagels?

Where do you go when you’re lost?

Do the lights look like interrogation,

like what are you doing here,

go home, city boy. You like it too rough

for our streets.

The happiest I’ve ever seen you

is eating pretzels in Central Park.

We never needed directions. Your father’s

ghost made sure we always found a parking spot,

your childhood took us to the airport,

your first date through Midtown –

you watched the city at night

as though the lights had been left on for you,

come home, city boy. It’s not too late

to come back.

performance poetry

About the Creator

Dane BH

By day, I'm a cog in the nonprofit machine, and poet. By night, I'm a creature of the internet. My soul is a grumpy cat who'd rather be sleeping.


Check out my Vocal Spotlight and my Vocal Podcast!

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