Sunday, November 6, 2011


irish jack was mickie's dad
the old man could do a million pull-ups
sit-ups, run like hell, and fight like a terrier
but he had humility
he had a great sense of humor
but don't yah ever cross him

i remember mickie's black eyes
but the kid was a fool
drinking and smoking cigarettes all the time
from the age of thirteen
irish jack didn't deserve this from his kid
'cause he lived a clean life
and was a paragon of a fine example for his sons
and the older brother teddy was even worse
a sadistic "mutha" he was
who died of alcoholism by the time he was forty
but that was the future and i'm talking about the past

irish jack took me and mickie to the boys club
35th and union avenue on chicago's south side
i learned to swim and shoot hoops in this great building
jack was my boy scout leader as well
he hiked my fat ass over hill-and-dale
my surrogate father...jack
while my old man wanted nothing to do with me

and jack sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee
black as the ace of spades
and smoking raleigh cigarettes
hacking and coughing
laughing and telling me stories
and teaching me how to have respect
and i learned a lot from the old man

when i grew up i saw him at a wake
he was riddled with lung cancer
a phantom of himself
the smile was still there
the tough, old sumnabitch denied the cancer
he got it from the nalco chemical plant in chicago
and the non-filtered butts he enjoyed all his life
and in a year i stood at his coffin
and said a prayer
maybe shed a tear

i sometimes wonder if he was a drinker in his youth?
both his sons had "the creature"
but i merely speculate on these possibilities
one thing i know for sure
jack was an honorable man
who gave of himself
and deserved a helluva lot better
but knowing him
i think he probably thought
he got a fair shake outta this life
so here's to yah
my old mentor and protector
i love and miss yah, irish jack.

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