tony hoagland | my father’s vocabulary

16 08 2010

PoetryDispatch No.332 | August 17, 2010

TONY HOAGLAND

MY FATHER’S VOCABULARY

by Tony Hoagland

In the history of American
….speech,
he was born between “Dirty
Commies” and “Nice tits.” .

He worked for Uncle Sam,
and married a dizzy gal from
….Pittsburgh with a mouth on her.

I was conceived in the decade
between “Far out” and
….“Whatever”;

at the precise moment when
….“going all the way”
turned into “getting it on.”

….… Our last visit took place in the
….twilight zone of a clinic,
between “feeling no pain” and
….“catching a buzz.”

For that occasion I had carefully
….prepared
a suitcase full of small talk.

.—But he was already packed and
….going backwards,
with the nice tits and the dirty
commies,

to the small town of his
….vocabulary,
somewhere outside of
….Pittsburgh.

[from UNINCORPORATED PERSONS IN THE LATE HONDA DYNASTY, Graywolf Press]

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8 responses

16 08 2010
Charlie Rossiter

I love this poem.

16 08 2010
Judith Wiker

I”m in love with Tony-Tony, Tony, Tony

17 08 2010
John Ingham

Acute observation, Mr. Hoagland, and well-executed. I am currently struck by the popular locutions that seem to emanate from comedians: “Don’t go there.” “Wait for it.” “Not.” “Doh.”

Anyway, very good poem. Charmingly makes its point, leaves the stage.

17 08 2010
R D Armstrong

This is really nice, Tony. I like the flow of it and the last lines. Very nice, indeed.

17 08 2010
Julie

I could so relate to this in regards to my own father. Well thought out and effectively presented. Thank you!

18 08 2010
Robert M. Zoschke

A pome tome with the makings of a MARVELOUS novella…
hmmmm…

18 08 2010
Jeffrey Winke

Yep, this be real good… gooder than most poems I be reading lately.

23 08 2010
Barbara Fitz Vroman

HIghly original, teaming up eras and something as potentially emotional as the
death bed of a father, with the idioms so familiar to those of us with a longer
past. Lots of POW!

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