My father grew up like my grandfather
and his father before him
hard life and labor
they believed in laws and order
and that, things had to be done the hard way
a little beating built character
a man must work and have responsibilities
a man must be stern with his children and own lawn.
they were all bitter drunkards and
I believed I would never understand why
I vowed to never be like them
to swim in the waters of Acapulco
to run with the bulls
to learn to play the mandolin
I pledged to love my wife and never kick my dog.
I grew up
that time wrinkles you into a paper ball
a hard life of labor
and my character took a beating
I now have a lawn I must keep tidy
and I have never played the mandolin.