What I’m reading: My Father’s Vocabulary (poem)

 My Father’s Vocabulary
 By Tony Hoagland
In the history of American speech,
he was born between “Dirty Commies” and “Nice Tits.”
He worked for Uncle Sam,
and married a dizzy gal from Pittsburgh with a mouth on her.
I was conceived in the decade
between “Far out” and “Whatever”;
at the precise moment when “going all the way”
turned into “getting it on.”
Sometimes, I swear, I can feel the idiom flying around inside my head
like moths left over from the Age of Aquarius.
Or I hear myself speak and it feels like I am wearing
a no-longer-groovy cologne from the seventies.
In those days I was always trying to get a rap session going
and he was always telling me how to clean out the garage.
Our last visit took place in a twilight zone of a clinic,
between “feeling no pain” and “catching a buzz.”
For that occasion I had carefully prepared
a suitcase full of small talk
–But he was already packed and going backwards,
with the nice tits and diry commies,
to the small town of his vocabulary,
somewhere outside of Pittsburgh.
Writing prompt: What vocabulary did your father (or mother) use? Try writing a poem based on that vocabulary.

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