David, or: ben Alexander

In memory of Papa

My 1st ghazal

I remember his toolboxes, table vice, hand sander
Still remember foul humor, impatience, frank candor

I remember clever math tricks and right-wing politics
And sultry actresses at whom he would gander

I remember him sitting, reading, problem solving
Frustrated, resigned, when his mind would meander

I remember long summers he nannied my daughter
Love all-consuming, warmed bottles he'd hand her

I remember brilliance; I remember his strength, God
Deep in principles anchored; and not one to pander

I remember no bullshit and deep disappointments
Because and regardless no one ever stood grander

I remember young David who worshipped his Papa
None could ever replace him, not one ben Alexander

For today’s OLN, I’d like to share my first ghazal, which I wrote nearly one year ago (~11 months). TBH, I’m not sure this is technically a ghazal, because the rhyme is only on the last two syllables of the name ‘Alexander’, as if they were two separate words, rather than on the entire word…

Anyway, it’s a deeply true and personal piece. The photo is of my parents holding me at my brit milah (circumcision).

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

105 thoughts on “David, or: ben Alexander”

  1. David, the words are on the tip of my tongue but I think I’ll give you a hug instead.

    The poem is candid and heartfelt.I’m sure it’ll touch many hearts.

  2. God, joy fills your dad’s heart
    With this honour, so present
    I can feel his warm smile

    You write for all of us. We steal a little detail as you honour your father, we recall our dads.

    You are such a natural, no matter the form presented in the poetry world, you excel in it.

    My heart is full of joy listening to your word, a gift to your dad.

  3. A beautiful paean to your father, and a wonderful first go (!) at a ghazal. This is a form I don’t know and I have bookmarked it as a route out of the dry gulch I’ve been in for a month (I have pages and pages of starts right now that don’t go anywhere)

  4. So heartfelt and full of personality – your Papa and your poem! You had me teary with the first line. I inherited all of my dad’s tools and toolboxes. ๐Ÿ’— Your family photo is priceless.

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