F. William Broome

AMERICAN HERO
(Fathers Day 2006)

His kind, they said, never amounted to anything.
The kind he was included being kind
while sober, and tolerable when not.
His kind kept the mills running during
the Great Depression, tenant farms productive,
fought in WWII Europe and Pacific islands,
and rebuilt this Nation after all that shit.
Drinking during the Thirties was to forget
the goddamned lack of education after
the Civil War left us a sorry economy with
never enough money to buy better learning;
property owners keeping their taxes low.
Drink took away the gossip about her,
a lonely bored wife, who left their kids to shift
for themselves when she romped
with itinerant mill hands who worked nights.
Those of his kind still living, are now grayed,
through struggling to guide their kids into
something better; educated for top jobs and
the careers; things his kind missed out on.
Still drinking a bit, his kind never complained,
took it on the chin, grateful for the change.