No Pretense



I don’t feel like rhyming


No pretense.

No lies.


This hurts…

even if I knew it was coming.


Lets be real, because you always were.

I was waiting for it.

We all were…

Every phone call was a reminder that you were too far away for me to change anything.

I was at the will of time…life… circumstance.

And now I mourn from that same distance…


I have missed you for a long time.

I wanted more but I couldn’t seem to make it happen.

I hope you understood… I was trying.


Most of you is in my head, stories from those that were closer to you.


Metal and Mathematics ..

Hard worker.. family man.

I never understood it.

You were someone outside of my world?

I just knew the man that cooked the meals

Who ruled the house.

It didn’t matter to me that there was more.

I was happy with what I knew.


When the end was creeping toward you

I wanted to say you had no fear.

You had No Fear of the living. But you did fear death. We talked.

I Feared for you because you feared for death but life was a joke you didn’t want to laugh at.

You were scared but you told me God was a joke we tried not go there but eventually we did.

I could hear your youth through the phone but boredom as well.

You still wanted to hunt for mushrooms and hang out at a bar. You wanted to gather around family like we did in the past. But that was the past…

You wanted your sons to care.

You wanted what you felt you paid in, to now be paid out.

Thankful of what you had but regret…. Regret…


Every phone call was the same questions.. we were both bored. Not sure what to talk about we fumbled over words. I wanted to say I love you because I knew…

You said it once.

It was uncomfortable for you…..

 I will cherish it.


A lot of talk about the Cubs and the ineptitude of Cutler.

You said Fuck, shit, and asshole

And I could only laugh.

I named my son after your middle name….

That was my way of saying I loved you…

Not sure you ever knew that



I remember dandelions for a penny..

Hands the size of my face…

The ice cream man on Sundays.

I feared my nose would be as large as yours

Now I’m proud of my nose.

My middle name, is your first name. I always took pride in that.


I don’t know how to give you justice the way you deserve.

I can’t seem to make this poem beautiful

But maybe that’s what would be best

Because beautiful was not something you cared for.

Truth, is more befitting.


I feel like these words should be better because they are about you.

The world should know who you were.


To the world you were a no body

Just another Polish man with no education.

Just another fool with no direction.

To the world you were nothing to admire

But to me you were worth my aspiration and that was all I had to give you.


I know you had your faults but I never saw them.

As I grew I realized I didn’t think like you

And in our arguments I still loved you

Respected you.

You were a Union man through and through, no budging, a Chicago man.

You were stubborn as a bull

As strong as an ox

You struck fear in those you chose to

And could be facetious on command.

I remember shaking your hand

At 85.

You were still stronger than me.

I can’t remember everything about you

That bothers me.

I want to have a pristine idea of who you were.

I want to share everything you were to me with every one else.

I know the world doesn’t care

But I do.



I can’t tell you exactly why you mattered so much.

Words are failing to truly convey the magnitude of your presence in the lives of this family.

And to know that you are gone…

I may have actually believed you were going to live forever.

In my childish desire to relive my youth, I may have wanted that.

Even though I knew you were ready.


I hate that I never had a chance to introduce my children to you.

I hate it!!

You would have loved them… and quickly told them to shut the hell up.

 The moments you orchestrated in my youth.. the fact that you formed a family that made such memories is a testament to you.

Yes.. we were fucked up.

We made our mistakes. But the hell if we don’t love each other

And I credit that to you.


What scares me now is that the initial shock is over and passing..

I’m scared that it’s all going to fade away.

I’m afraid that memories will be washed away

And you will just become an anecdote

Or a name and some dates on

I don’t want it to happen like everything else to be washed over and forgotten

Your worthy of more then that.

But the best I have to offer…

Is this.

“I love you”

and it’s ok. I don’t expect a response. I know how uncomfortable it made you feel.


22 thoughts on “No Pretense”

  1. hello, I don’t know you, Mr. Jones … but I have to say your gift for poetry and expression is uplifting … what a beautiful testimonial upon this grand man’s passing

  2. Wow.. how many kids would like to say something like this to parents now gone? I know I would, it struck a chord. Thank you for sharing. Thank you too for visiting my blog.

  3. I don’t know when your father passed. And i am sure u tired of hearing “i’m sorry” what is there to say? I’ve been there. We say “it’s okay” but it isn’t.

    I don’t Comment often. I don’t always have much to say aside from that i enjoyed a writing but to you i do have something to say. A few things actually.

    One, your poem was beautiful, raw, real and captured a person i never knew and made him someone i can imagine. Two you did him justice by writing just as it came rather than trying to force a form.

    And three, it won’t fade. 10 years since my dad passed. I was 17 yrs old. He 42. I still remember his smile, his laugh, oddly, his hands and the way his fingernails were flat rather than curving with his finger. His goofy and often inappropriate Sense of humor. These things haven’t faded in a decade. And they wont in a life time. And neither will yours.

      1. That fear is natural. I have feared it as well. I haven’t forgotten him though. The beauty is there is a little of us in all of those we love. As if we leave a tiny piece of our soul behind when we touch someones heart. I see my dad in my brother, my sister, my self. It trickles down. So the memory never really dies. Moments will happen that bring him to mind. And you will realize it is impossible to forget.

  4. A beautiful tribute to someone you obviously loved very much. And strongly identified with – at least that’s the impression I was left with. So, no – you’re not going to forget him by any means. And it sounds like you’re going to make sure your kids don’t forget him either. My condolences – it’s always tough to lose someone you love – no matter their age, distance – no matter.

  5. This comment was initially conceptualized as a “thanks for visiting our blog and liking our poem” type comment but then I read this and it became more.

    Thank you for this piece. Through it I feel that I have experienced a man I never met; I feel that I sat in on conversations that you had with him and maybe wish were more; and mostly I feel that I see the immense and uncomfortable love you had for him.

    Since my dad passed two years back I have been searching for a way to provide the type of experience of my father that you provided me with yours father through this piece. Thank you for the inspiration.

  6. In case I can’t use my words to describe what your words evoked in me, I will tell you that my throat is tight and tears rolled down my cheeks in quiet symmetry; one after the other in perfect harmony. It is as if we have lived parallel lives. Thank you for touching me. Blessitude – Lorrie

  7. Well, Mr. Jones: first of all, a long belated hello from an old reader from some years ago. I was reading on WP & had wondered if you still wrote here, and here you are…
    Now, as to this post, I have tears rolling down my cheeks, my deepest condolences. Much of this I can both empathize & sympathize with.
    Your dad, put simply, would have loved this tribute. It is touching beyond words.
    I do wish you, and yours well. I and my five are well. And not that I’d suppose you’ve time, but if curiosity were to kill the cat, I’m quietly writing on tumblr these days, tho not nearly as often as in years past.
    Much respect, writer to writer, Lady Day

  8. Mr. Jones, this was a great poem. I’m not sure if you’ve ever written a story about your father, but you could; the storytelling quality of this poem was superb. I looked at some of your other stuff, but this one was by far the best of those that I looked at.

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