10 July 2010

Painting the Golden Gate Bridge

I think of him every day,
my father,
and always on my drive to work,
and I think of his,
my father’s,
work painting the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was the only job he,
my father,
ever had;
27 years in the rigging with brush and buckets of
Golden Gate paint
(orange vermilion called "International Orange"),
enough Golden Gate paint
to float an aircraft carrier or
an armada of small sailboats
each with a happy family aboard,
enough Golden Gate paint
to raise a family and buy a house,
to send two kids to college
and another to art school,
enough Golden Gate paint
to start three families
who bought three houses
to fill with grandchildren
and a divorce or two
and dogs barking in the yards
and barbeque grills for Saturday cookouts
with the whole family.

my father,
painted every day, all day,
the endless job of painting the Golden Gate Bridge;
from north to south on the bay side
and then from south to north on the ocean side
and always to begin again,
north to south,
every day in all weather and never finished,
a möbius strip of painting
that kept him,
my father,
smelling of acetone and benzene and Golden Gate paint
until the day the knot slipped,
until the day the link snapped,
and he,
my father,
toppled backward into the sea
accompanied by a smooth, gliding arc of Golden Gate paint,

And so, yes, today, like every other day,
I tie the knot and snap the link,
take my bucket of Golden Gate paint and my brush
and lower myself down to
pick up the job where he,
my father,
left it.