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Vol. 8, No. 7                  The Fourteen Percenter             October 2005

A publication for parents on the wrong side of the standard possession order.

- I see my child two days out of every fourteen; That’s14%. That's not enough! -

The Probate and Family Court Judge
The Probate and Family Court Judge rules when divorces are filed,
whatever mothers want is in "The best interest of the child."
He tears fathers from their families all for the children's own good.
No punishment is to severe for the crime of fatherhood.
Lawyers always play by his rules. They're guaranteed to get rich,
robbing the father's lifetime work, and sharing it with the b...witch.
When she's coached to say she's fearful, they can seize without delay,
with a cruel restraining order, her husband's kids, house, and pay.

The judge is aided by lackeys; a clerk in a comely dress.
His eyes betray his plans for her during the noontime recess.
Not so the court social worker who berates fathers for fun.
She has looks, charm, and demeanor matching Attila the Hun.
The Probate Court Judge sits smugly backed by the ruling elite.
The rule of law and due process lie trampled under his feet.
He defiles the Constitution to enrich the black widow,
blind to the tears of the children, and loving father's sorrow.
- Michael P O'Neil,     mike.oneil@juno.com  
Recording from "The Children of Children," Copyright. Used by permission. http://www.madelf.com/Children.html
The Shell
It's cool and dark and safe in this protective little place.
I can't hurt anyone from here, nobody can come that near.
It's my home where I'm all alone. I take it with me wherever I roam.
Nobody can hurt me here, nobody can come that near.
I'm growing a shell to protect me in my private hell,
and each layer that I apply causes part of me to die.
There's not room enough for me. I know fitting in can't be.
I hurt Mom by loving Dad, I hurt Dad by loving Mom back...
Do you know what it's like to be a prisoner in here with me?
It's not my fault, but then again it is. Is there anything worse than this?
Should've known it'd be a waste to bring them face to face.
There will be no healing here, no one will come that near.
I'll retreat to my little home, the only home I've known.
There will be no healing here, no one will come that near.
I'm closing the shell that entombs me in my private hell.
Whatever was left inside can wither away and die...
There's no life here for me. Pierce your hearts and let them bleed.
Have you nothing better to do than to run each other through?
Do you know what it's like to be a prisoner in here with me?
It's not my fault, though you'd say it is. I never dreamed it would come to this.
Madmen and Dreamers.
My Son's Dozen
Happy Birthday Charlie! Though we're apart,  our refrigerator still holds your art, 
and you always have a place in my heart.
Your childhood is almost done. Enjoy it now; have your fun.
You will always be my son.
The small amount of time we share is dear and precious and quite rare;
it's not enough to show I care.
You are growing up much too fast.  I've got to make the moments last 
or the future becomes the past.
Today, you have a dozen years.  If I could, I'd erase your fears 
and wish for you a thousand cheers.
Here's my birthday desire for you: As you reflect when each day is through, 
you will learn things useful and true.
- Love, Dad (Don Mathis)
One Evening in Portland

She said, I hope you don't mind spending this time with me tonight,

as we strolled in the cool Maine air by the harbor in the lamplight.


Mind? I said. There is no place on earth right now I'd rather be,

while we looked for the right restaurant, in an autumn breeze from the sea.


We talked and laughed about our hopes, our fears, our dreams and our lot, as we ate by the waterfront. Mind? I thought. I'd prefer this spot to any garden or palace anywhere in the Milky Way. Mind? If only I could save this moment forever and a day.

Then all too soon, a goodbye hug, standing in leaves by the dorm door. Mind? I will treasure my time with her, even when time is not more.  Yes, I thought, on the hundred mile drive home through the New England night,

when life fades and flesh turns to dust, in her smile my soul will delight.

- Michael P. O'Neil, mike.oneil@juno.com
The First Time

You tell your father "I love you." is not easy. For we are taught to love women....not men. My father was the one I wanted to be near, to feel his strength, to know his passion  for life. The distance between us went unnoticed until that fateful day the phone call. It would be my first airplane ride from Cincinnati to Detroit, ironically, to be with him at death. Funny, for years I saved the ticket stub not sure whether to remind me of my first flight or his death. Standing next to him, I remember being strong after all, I was his  namesake and others were expecting me to be a man. The day I cried was months later, when I went to my mailbox for his weekly letters and poems. The box was empty no letter, no poems. I was so alone.   Lost.   Confused. I had been taught about sex, but no one had explained the overwhelming sensations that arrive with the death of the man who for twenty years, I called "papa."  

He lay so still, properly embalmed. His amigos from the Monterrey Pool room paid their final respects. The priest said some stupid prayers. I cursed God for the strange feeling of being a young man without a father. I wanted to hug him one last time
or would it be our first? The line from the poem he wrote to me, after my leaving home, "it was papa who took a drink and wanted to hug you tight". floated around like a bad taste in my mouth. Now the distance between the family has separated us to different parts of the country.  Mama, lost her voice, she quietly waits for your return at the Nightingale Nursing Home. She teaches us a lesson‑how sometimes death sneaks slowly up on you weakens you till your last breath. Now, I struggle to be father for my beautiful ten year old daughter. You are not here but I want you to know I don't blame you anymore. The poet in me wants to share a poem with you, make you smile, laugh but all I can do is tell the children " . . . my father was a poet."
I feel so proud, at the precise moment when I express your words with my voice: but I remember too well how the first time I told my father "I love you" . . . was not easy.
 - Trinidad Sánchez, Jr.  7/26/1993

His fingers wrapped like bungee hooks

Around the cyclone fence.
Face pressed grotesquely through wire mesh.
Eyes straining toward early SUVs worming to the pick-up door.
Who would come for him?
Would he have to stay and line-up forever
At the swings, at the fountain, at the restroom
Before forced naptime for the afternoon?
"Those of you whose parents did not come,
Over here with me!" a perky afternoon worker called
And into line he went from his fence vigil -
The line of leftover children, unclaimed, staying late.

After his turn on the swing, then water and the bathroom,

Music started and he lined up to collect his pallet for rest-time.
Lights dimmed and workers walked around enforcing quiet.
He rested, then slept, dreaming of an early dismissal.
In his dream, his mother came to pick him up -
Then his father - a mix-up in custody arrangements.
Suddenly he began to cry out in his daycare naptime.
A gentle childcare worker asked him what was wrong.
He tried to tell her his dreamtime dread,
Explain the vision of his divided parents
Both waiting to take him to his separate homes.
All he said in quivering voice, "I don't know where to line up!"
- Jane C. Perdue, janeperdue@yahoo.com 
The Fourteen Percenter is an international newsletter that seeks to promote equal parenting rights in the US, the UK, and worldwide. We welcome feedback, as well as any article, poem, or review relating to the child-parent bond.  Send your letters to FourteenPercenter@yahoo.com . The Fourteen Percenter thanks A-1 Product Distribution for donation of their printing services. Typesetting, binding, and laminating are other services available at 2015 McCullough in San Antonio, TX. Contact 210-734-9355, 800-652-8477, or http://www.a1laminating.com/index.cfm