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21 June 1998

Rod & Rocky. Photo by Bob Gentry 2000 by Stanyan Music Group

A Thought for Today

We are our father's sons and we become our fathers.

 

Dear Rod,

Like you I never knew who my father was and I was wondering if you would reprint the Flight Plan you wrote in 1998 for Father's Day? 

Thanks, Timothy Eimen

Fathers Day

"My real father was a flying ace. He was a colonel and after shooting down several dozen enemy planes was shot down himself. Of course, they sent us his medals". That piece of fiction was the first big lie I remember telling about my father. Because he was intangible, and I knew little or nothing about him, I felt the need to invent a past for him to justify my own importance. Addicted to movies - we used to see one nearly every night at the WPA camp - I secretly imagined my father as Tarzan, Clark Gable, or a Paul Bunyan-like character out of the North Woods.

   
- from "Finding My Father", 1976. First published in Flight Plan 6/21/98 

I hope your weekend was a good one and Happy Father's Day to the dad's of the world. See you tomorrow with the Monday E-mail bag. Sleep warm.

                                 
  - RM 6/17/2000. 

notable birthdays

FATHER'S DAY

Eva Bartok o Philip Barry o Richard Boone o Kurt Browning o Sammy Cahn o Ian Carmichael o Bud Collyer o Peter Donohoe o Roger Ebert o Carol Kane o Kay Kyser o Keye Luke o Paul McCartney o Jeanette MacDonald o E.G. Marshall o Syliva Porter o John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV o Isabella Rosselini o Blanche Sweet

Rod's random thoughts All of us are searching for the father of us all.

A single Sunday works out easily the winding down of weekday will.

The artist ought to be a temple for his gifts.

When young, we trust ourselves too much; when older, we trust ourselves too little.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY 
The forward from 
"Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows"

1. 
I remember hearing children
in the street outside
above the noise
of pots and pans and bickering.
They had their world
I had my room.
I envied them only
for the day long sunshine
of their lives
and their fathers.
Mine I never knew.

2.
I grew
not necessarily erect.
I bent sometimes
but never to the lowest branch
and learned to love the smell
of people's bodies making love to me
as much as I loved lilacs.

3.
I try to play as many games
as games there are.
To lie a little's not so bad
if it gets you through the night.
Bach and The Supremes help too
and I've a cat
who's learned to like my music.

4.
I read sometimes obituaries
in towns that I pass through
hoping I might find a man
who spells his name the same as me.
If he's dead then I'll know where he lived
and if he lived.

5.
In the end
the songs I sing
are of my own invention.
They mirror what has happened to me
since I was abandoned by my father 
and by love.

6.
I stay alone
Confined to me
Imposing my philosophy on no one else
(The words that make this book
were written for myself
except a few that were a letter
written to a love now gone
who lived on Stanyan Street.)
but I have saved them up
and give them here
to those I hope might understand.

May 16, 1966

             
- from " Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows," 1966

1966, 1976, 1998,  2000 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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