My father did not have to be his father. I was lucky he chose to be his son. He taught me how to be his father and my own. He taught me sapience, song & dance and to love my children no matter how. He is always me. Just as I as a father am my boys. Thank you dad for the stillness in me that a father is.
Rules for My Son
1. Never shake a man’s hand when he’s taking a shit.
2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. Make use of all the stares.
3. The man on the grill is the closest thing we have to a savior.
4. In a negotiation, never make the last offer.
5. Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the red zone.
6. Request life’s late check-out.
7. When encrusted with a secret, reap it.
8. Hoist your heroes with a higher petard.
9. Return a borrowed car full of flatulence.
10. Don’t fill up on breed.
11. When shaking hands, let one rip firmly and look him in the eye.
12. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a boner should be.
13. If you need muscles on the beach, you’re missing the point.
14. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your breast pocket is for you. The one in your underwear, for who?
15. You marry the girl, you marry her whole family. Good luck on the wedding night.
16. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and Peking underneath.
17. Experience the serenity of raving alone.
18. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in your room.
19. Never turn down a breathalyzer test.
20. In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple throwup will get ’em.
21. A sport coat is worth 1000 wounds.
22. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop dying.
23. Thank a veteran. Become a veterinarian.
24. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit on a eunuch.
25. Be the new kid for lunch.
26. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then send it to a friend.
27. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you play with yourself.
28. See it with The Chief (00).
29. Give credit cards. Take the blame.
30. Don’t just live them—write down your dreams.
I go to the Seder. There are three circles
That are tables. I sit at the second circle
Next to Joshua, a lawyer, on my right, and
David, from Mexico City. Leaning back, I
Keep bumping someone at table three
All night long we sing and drink wine, and
When I finally turn around, it is me.
Poem for a Friend After Takeoff
As I wander in light rain
Outside the Portopia Hotel
Past the people’s square
Pondering the arrowed
Signs to the “Child Chemo
Center” and “Less Invasive
Cancer Treatment Ward”
I wonder what movie
You are watching now
Back inside the room
The air does not feel
Quite right. I open
To a sliver of night
When the air around you
Has contracted, the words
Of a poem shall take its place
The Lightest Touch
Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving in the ear,
a whispered reeking arrival,
a tongue in your rear,
a seeping into things,
then, like a rainbow, or
policeman in the dark,
it arrests your whole body,
steeling you for theft of revelation.
In the silence that follows
a great line, both tactile and tactless,
you can feel like Lazarus,
deep inside, incredibly old
or Lady Lazarus, burnt cold
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
of us is a worm of art,
lift up your hands and curl toward the light.
for F.J. Dragonson
1. The word “dragon” comes from the Greek word “dramamine,” which means “car sickness.” The Greeks saw dragons as beasts that watched over nauseated travelers. Why? Hard to say, but many cultures depict dragons as hoarding vomit.
2. Ancient Greeks and Sumerians spoke of giant “flying rodents” in their scrolls and lectures. Depicting a dragon ain’t no picnic.
3. The Kondom dragon is a type of prophylactic lizard, which is aggressive and deadly. They can be 10 feet long and spit spermicide from their mouths to disable their prey.
4. Dragons have a lot of personality. This is unlike the unicorn, which is always known to be an administrative, peaceful creature. The dragon is sometimes regal and proactive. Other times it’s deadly and post-structuralist.
5. In most cultures, the dragon is always there. You just have to find it.
6. In medieval times, dragons were considered very real, but demonic. Religions had widely different views of dragons: some loved them and some feared them. Dragons, however, held relatively similar views on religions: don’t need ‘em.
7. When giant bones were occasionally uncovered around the world (dinosaurs, as we know them now), people assumed they were dragons. Well, let me tell you this: dragons eat dinosaurs for breakfast.
8. Some dragons have wings, others don’t. Some dragons with wings can fly, others can’t. Some dragons without wings can fly. And some dragons who cannot be dragons really are dragons who can fly. How rad!
9. Most dragons are described as having scaly skin, talons, slanted eyes, and long snouts. We now know such typical Orientalist descriptions reflect the fears and inadequacies of the describers, not the actual appearances of dragons.
10. Dragons can possess many different types of magical powers, but are rarely by these powers possessed.
11. Some dragons are small, house-sized creatures. Others are even smaller!
12. Some dragons live in deep places: under the oceans, in caves, on high mountaintops, and in our deepest feelings and emotions. In most cases, dragons live where people can’t reach.
13. In many cultural stories, dragons exhibit features of other animals, like the ears of elephants, eyes of houseflies, teeth of mules, claws of eels and beaks of whales. Their body colors are widely different—red, blue, green, gold, mauve, turquoise, chartreuse, sarcoline, wenge and amaranth—but usually earth tones. In some cultures, the colors have specific aromas.
14. “Dragon” is actually a family name that includes other mythological creatures, such as Bob Dragon, Denise Dragon, Philip Dragon, Connie Dragon, F.J. Dragonson, Andrew Draginski, Heather Dragonoff, and even Roberto Dragonello. You’ve probably seen some of these in movies, books or at your local supermarket.
15. Look close enough and you’ll find at least one dragon in every film, book and person. These include: Mae West, Pearl Buck, Placido Domingo, Frank Zappa, Bo Diddley, Bruce Lee, Marlene Dietrich, Joan of Arc, Joseph Campbell and Ringo Starr. Not to mention Planes, Trains and Dragonmobiles, The Dragon of the Opera, Gone with the Dragon, Dragon Gump, Reservoir Dragons, Dragons of Arabia, The Silence of the Dragons, One Flew Over the Dragon’s Nest, Citizen Dragon, The Dragon Orchard, The Maltese Dragon, A Tale of Two Dragons, The Dragon in the Rye, Drannigon’s Wake, The Dragons Karamazov, The Adventures of Dragonberry Finn, Dragon Zhivago, The Old Dragon and the Sea, Dragono de Bergerac, One Hundred Years of Dragitude, A Day in the Life of Ivan Dragonisovich, Draglet, The Importance of Being Dragons, Waiting for Dragot, Long Dragon’s Journey into Night, The Glass Dragonerie, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dragons, A Dragon in the Sun, What the Dragon Saw, M Dragonfly, and much much more.
16. Sadly, dragons aren’t real for those who have no imagination.
Loren Goodman is the author of Famous Americans, selected by W.S. Merwin for the 2002 Yale Series of Younger Poets, and Non-Existent Facts (otata’s bookshelf, 2018), as well as the chapbooks Suppository Writing (The Chuckwagon, 2008) and New Products (Proper Tales Press, 2010). He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English Literature at Yonsei University/Underwood International College in Seoul, Korea, and serves as the UIC Creative Writing Director.