Tomas Belsky is an artist, activist transplanted to Hilo, Hawai'i since 1973. Founder of Ka Huina a cooperative gallery in Downtown Hilo, Tomas is a community-oriented supporter of the arts in its many forms. His poetry has an honest, authentic voice and approaches both large-scale politics and local values with direct and personal insight. Tomas hosts a music and poetry open mic at Ka Huina (Creative Corner) Mamo & Kilauea, every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. "The spoken word--the first word--is still the most powerful word in determining how the world is run." Contact Tomas.
Father's Day Thoughts
Pop was part of it
The American Dream
His victory was far greater than he appreciated
lonely evenings in the bar down the corner,
any corner in the neighborhood.
That's where the dream played out for Vasili Andreivich
on the banks of the Old Raritan
first totally polluted major river in the USA,
son of a wannabe aristocrat from Minsk
Which rhymes with Pinsk
also in Minsk.
In Russia he was something of a Jolly Wally in translation
He claimed he was Vasili or Sweet Basil
as I dutifully reminisce
America called him Wally
So did Mom.
Papa was twenty nine when we married Mama
she was twenty six
He spent nineteen years as a single White Russian
with some command of English
and powerful smart with a hammer, ruler and a saw.
His America was alive with young immigrants from a Europe bleeding
from Revolution and the Great War;
Torn Loyalties in a new and often hostile America
If they thought you weren't acting American enough
they'd Palmer you up and send you back across the sea
to fight and die for a rotted corpse of a system.
So they hid in outhouses and herring sheds
these young immigrants with dreams in America.
It was her blue eyes
papa told me one melancholy day;
and I saw his face glow
and his eyes glimmer and shine
as when their love was the grand elixir,
Mama nodded in agreement
A slight blush radiating
but mostly she just kept on washin' and scrubbin' cookin' an' lookin' after her little clutch a nine.
'Course Mama had to get thrown out of the Jews' club
when she up and married Papa
a Russian and a gambler of sorts
But Papa Wally, as he liked to be called,
planted that seed from whence grew the idea
in America that life could be should be 'spozed to be Good,
Sweet enjoyable in America.
So Happy Father's Day to Vasili Papa Wally
and to all of you out there that ever had or now have a Father
As a Father I give you a thought passed on to me:
What kind of world are we leaving our children?
It's a simple and reasonable question.
Papa for all his shortcomings taught me that.
- Tomas Belsky