sleeping tales

my father is unhappy
he says I have written
too close to home
in the telling of a story
about hotel life

he thinks
I have intruded
shown too much
that the revelations
might reflect poorly on him

he has changed the place he drinks

~

and so I have promised I will search no more
for the stories that only he can tell
I will no longer pen his tales

and I will never again
seek the recipes
for rakija
or slivovic
recipes that would be a rich poetry
in the mere listing of their ingredients

will never tell the secrets
of the ‘the bread-room‘ in the old hospital
that I found fascinating
when I was a child
with its machine that could butter bread
while it rapid-sliced the loaf
always leaving the slices right side up

and where men would sit on butter-boxes
on a sunday afternoon
drinking until they fell
only to be discovered by the boss
instantly dismissed
except for the man
who slid timely into the storeroom
through a connecting hatchway
and kept his job

but
I will leave them alone
I have promised my father
and I do not enjoy his displeasure

no
I will not write them
will let them lie sleeping
until my father’s time is passed
and the tales themselves are dead


© Frank Prem, 2004

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