One Tough Ape

Dear Dad:

Were we apes, you’d have been the ideal father.

 

I never starved

And I never froze

And your little monkey survived into apehood.

 

A job well done—were we apes.

 

But we’re more than just apes, dad.

 

We reason

And we feel

And were we apes, you’d have good reason

To try and beat these feelings out of me;

 

A pussy has no place in the wild.

 

What kind of alpha ape

Would raise a son who sucked at football?

 

But we’re more than just apes, dad.

 

We love

And we need love

And at meals I needed more sound

Than forks screeching against plates.

An outstretched arm would have stopped the cold

That always managed to penetrate four walls and a comforter:

 

Where were you to comfort me?

 

I liked to draw

And I could write

And you thought

That you could beat that pussy shit right out of me.

 

An artist has no place in the animal kingdom.

 

You wanted me to be one tough ape, dad.

 

So I drank

And I took drugs

And I looked for fights

And where I found none,

 

 I cut myself instead.

 

If I couldn’t be quarterback, I could still be the king of the fucking jungle,

Ready to rip out the throat of any ape

Who thought of themselves as something more.

 

You managed to raise one hell of an ape, dad.

 

But we’re more than just apes, dad.

 

Aren’t we?