The existentialists

by Rob Couteau



Published in:
Z Miscellaneous, summer 1990 (NY: Again and Again Press)

White Pelican Review,
spring 2007 (FL: Lakeland)

The existentialists

Watching home movies
with my father.
Something catches his attention; 
he says, “I’ll never forget that wallpaper,
how hard it was to take down.”
I say, “You notice the most peculiar things,”
and he replies,
“Well, that’s all life is:
putting up wallpaper
and taking it down again.”
The thing is,
he’s dead serious
and because of that
I’ve never had to read
the existentialists –
Dad’s bleak vision
has taken me
far beyond
mere philosophy.

When it’s time to leave,
he stands on the stoop
to watch my figure
recede into the night.
As I turn the corner
and travel back to Europe,
I think of how
he makes the existentialists look:
Churning out philosophical manifestos
is one thing
but growing up with Dad
in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn,
is something else.


This poem is featured in:

Collected Couteau. Poems, Letters, Essays, Interviews
and Reviews by Rob Couteau. (Second, Revised Edition)



 fine art

Updated: 17 June 2011 | All text Copyright © 2011 | Rob Couteau | key words: poems about fathers and sons existentialist poetry about existentialism