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Nov 2013
My father, gone fifty years,
A transplanted German,
Arrived early, in the 1920's,
Fleeing the worldwide depression,
That decided to follow him to America.

Traveling salesman, raconteur,
A busy man who decided he
Found the right girl at age forty,
But by the time I was teen,
He was, then uncommon,
An older man, an older father.

Raised three kids,
Working six days a week.
Unlike the other fathers,
White shirt and tie every day
Even Sunday.

No backyard in the city,
To toss a base or football to his son,
Though he wouldn't, couldn't,
While his son grew,
Grew up worshipping
Three Gods:
Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and
The bold, the bald Y.A. Tittle,
Heroic sports figures.

The son who went to Yankee Stadium
For the first time,
There he saw the color
EmeraldΒ Β Green in the Bronx,
In The House Ruth Built,
Whispered Hallelujah,
There, courtesy of someone else's dad.

Goatee he wore, and on Saturdays,
Wore a black jacket, striped pants
And Homburg hat to the synagogue.
Custom of his Hamburg upbringing.
The only one, the only dad,
Of course, dressed that way.
Proud of his style, his heritage,
Helping me not to fit right in.

Yet twinkle twinkle did his eyes sparkle,
Such that all the other children loved him,
Better and best.

But I was the son with the unlike,
The father, unlike any others.
Age thirteen, he's asked me this:
Now you are a man, I wish of thee this,
Accompany me to synagogue every day,
As is my custom, and all your father's,
Twenty generations before me.

When he passed, the stories of
His saintly deeds, his help,
How he saved, brought many to
The United States of America,
Including his five sisters and their families.
During, after WWII, became legends,
all the while, trying to make a living.

One time, I was listening to
Rock n' Roll, on the radio,
In the den, study, his home office,
The Stereo,
proudly sat.

Chased me out,
Paperwork to do,
But stopped me first,
Listening to the song.
That happened to be next.

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space

On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let me tell you now

When I come home feelin' tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet
Up on the roof
I get away from the hustling crowd
And all that rat race noise down in the street
Up on the roof

On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let's go up on the roof
Up on the roof

At night the stars put on a show for free
And darling, you can share it all with me
I keep a tellin' you

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I've found a paradise that's trouble proof
Up on the roof
And if this world starts getting you down
There's room enough for two, up on the roof
Up on the roof

Up on the roof
Up on the roof
Oh, come on, baby
Up on the roof
Oh, come on, honey
Up on the roof
Everything is all right
Up on the roof
Say that, "It's alright"
Up on the roof
Oh, we gotta go up on the roof
Up on the roof
The Drifters - Up On The Roof

He listened carefully,
Pronouncing with an austere smile,
"That I like, now go."

Now fifty years later,
Having failed spectacularly as a
Father, family man, having never saved a
Soul or life, I remember the outcast days
Of my growing up years,
With a different kind of father
Than all the kids who
Played catch, had big suburban homes.

I never understood much,
Always struggled to be one
Unsuccessful in fitting in,
In my high school yearbook,
They outed my anomie,
"Either apart or ahead of us,
Nat stands, uniquely individual."

So here is a poem, an apology,
No, more an anthology, an anthem,
Of, and,
To my pop, for resenting, misunderstanding,
You were more than unique,
How you were special, in ways
No teenager could see.

I am have written some of this before.
Tender apologies, but when I awoke this
Post Thanksgiving Day, at
6:00 Ante Meridiem,
In not my bed,
In not my city,
Pandora surprised me
Real Good,
With an old song,
Up on the Roof.

These words,
The ones you are reading did not drift,
Nay, they spilled out in shades of
Tearful regretful guilt-filled,
Pooling tears that cannot n'ere erase
Prior youthful errors, grievous sins.

Of course,
They like to surprise you,
At the end of their song,
Twisty surprise ending.

I will say it, not you,
In some ways, not all,
I grew up to be just like him,

And for that,
I will give thanks,
Not just one day, every day,
Until it is among,
My last thoughts passing,
Proceeding me,
Preceding me,
As I depart this globe.
Nov. 29th 2013
Miami, Florida
Nat Lipstadt
Written by
Nat Lipstadt  M/nyc
       SE Reimer, ryn, ---, Bhupathi Prabhakara Rao, --- and 21 others
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