Bryan Dietrich (bio)

There was a time it balanced, black and white,
at the edge of my dresser. My first television,
my secret sharer, my conduit to art and darkness.
A perfect globe, all glitz and seventies kitsch.
A techno helmet too like the astronauts’ I adored.
In it, I watched everything that matter. Planet
of the Apes, Trog, Beast from 20,00 Fathoms
So many large and small screen heroes, so many
monsters, all unsettled from the deep. Space
time, sea. But one night it was Kong, king
of them all. That night, long before the divorce,
before the screaming, before the Alzheimer’s,
dementia, talk of retirement homes, before poems
about his anger, before poems about my anger,
before poems about how he could have gone
to the moon, after pilot, after Air Force, after all
he’d wanted had begun, already, to fade the way
it has now, amongst only the beginnings of the ruin
of a man I called my father, my father sat with me
to watch. I rarely saw what I was supposed to see
when someone watched beside me. More often,
I watched them, their reactions, and that night,
one of the last we had together in that house,
I couldn’t tell if he was seeing my crystal sphere,
the TV itself, or the ape aped within, the lonely
beast contemplating his kingdom from his tower,
this strange new world where the plane was coming,
coming from some unimaginable future, coming
to knock him down before the curtain.

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