a t-shirt. one that is a terrible color.
my mom's least favorite, burnt orange.
it shares a disgusting likeness to rust.
and yet my dad would wear it everyday.
regardless of everyone around him's distrust.
"no one would dare to wear that in public"
my mom said, she was wrong.
perhaps when she married him she was not aware
of my dad's inexplicable connection to
this terrible color, or to t-shirts in general i guess
for about six out of the seven days a week regardless
he would be wearing that same shirt
for the almost 20 years they have been married
he can be found wearing that same shirt
however, there's a slight misconception
he doesn't have just one shirt
he has dozens of those nasty burnt orange colored shirts
and i suppose i forgot to mention that it's to support a football team
which seems shallow in theory but the aforementioned is
non-other than the texas longhorns.
my dad grew up there and attended college there.
he wasn't even a part of the team, and yet
for the last 35 years he's been wearing that same shirt.
i simply can't understand his undying affinity
i barely recognize the mascot of our own school team.
there is a certain dedication, a certain love that he must feel towards this place, towards that team.
however as i'm writing this poem i simply can't ascertain what it's all supposed to mean?
texas, a place of southern accents, cowboys, and racism.
not somewhere i typically tend to associate with even
though it was the place where i was born in
on a Tuesday almost 17 years ago at about 1pm
and of course i arrive
too early for my own good,
so i stayed in a hospital in ICU until they said i could
be taken home to a house i barely remember.
i wouldn't call that place home.
and yet, my dad wearing another variation of his classic burnt orange t-shirt today
that reminds me that's where i came from
i came from burnt orange beginnings.
and even though i might live in a blue ocean paradise as of now.
that's not where i started.
i tell myself that i am so much more that the place my life began in.
so instead of loving where i started and the color that comes with it.
i continue to despise that burnt orange color and compare it to rust
and all other things that fill me with unexplainable disgust.
but in the spirit of honestness. i don't hate it as much as i contest
don't ask me about it however because for sure all i’ll do is protest
but even when i was little seeing that orange shirt and big black car
arrive in the driveway of my old school was truly the best
looking for that ugly orange shirt at the end of the day when he always asked me what i had learned
hugging that terrible orange shirt when i'm crying
after scraping my knee on the concrete
taking car rides with that orange shirt seated beside me
that seemed as long as a lifetime to go see the turtles on the north shore
after watching him present himself at a showing of a house we could never afford
watching that orange shirt fumble and stumble teaching me to drive
fixing my air conditioner with this orange shirt at 2am
after a nightmare session that left me too rattled to sleep
that orange shirt who attends these loud rock concerts that he doesn’t necessarily enjoy simply to watch me be happy
that awful orange shirt that has seen me sad and happy and everything in between.
you know seeing that orange shirt for nearly every day of my life
has conditioned me
and truly i hate it, the dustiness, the rustiness of it all.
it’s disgusting, appalling and above all terrible.
but for some godforsaken reason i also love it.
i love it with my entire heart,
i truly love that stupid orange shirt for all of its awfulness
and logically i know it's not the shirt but the person inside.
because my dad is one of the most amazing people
i know and i hate to admit
but that color has grown on me, because of him
it's become home to me,
it's my dad.
and maybe i'll never figure out why
my dad loves his college football team so much
maybe i don't need to
what i know is that while burnt orange may be a truly terrible color,
it's become home to me.
Written a while ago for NYDPS.