Sunday, June 21, 2009
Father’s Day Poem: With Gratitude, From Your Brown and Brooding Essence
Within this paneled den of
My mind, You are
In your favorite Laz E-Boy, gazing up
From The Daily News. Your eyes fixed in
This no-nonsense stare. You want to discuss
The day’s politics… but there’s always
Some new song rattling in my brain, playing
Upon the jukebox of my tongue. Sly,
Stevie, Marvin and Donny, they haunt
My boyish conversation.
Didn’t mean to exasperate you, yet
I sometimes did. Its evidence could be seen on
Your brow, like an angel, debating with sin.
They say, I’m your ‘spit,’ your seed, your kid,
Your son, and I inherited this countenance
It was you who predicted there’d someday be a
Black President… while the militant in me
Discarded your pipedream. The older I get,
The wiser you become, it seems.
I want to tell you everything inside me…
My successes, my failures, my joys
And my heartbreaks. I feel
As if I should name them, one by one,
For each day, each month, each
Year you’ve been gone. You are
My brown and brooding essence, now, a spirit
That possesses my older face. Beneath its
Surface, some claim to see this trace of
Implicit sadness. Still, Da,
I need to tell you this:
I’m so glad you were
My father. Blessed, that you stayed
When other fools ran, strayed or
Escaped to places free of their sons
And daughter’s cries. Each day
In my mind, I
Thank You for being
The kind of person you were:
A Man, a Husband, my Dad… and not
Some hot-wired version of manhood.
There are so many things I’d like us to
Redo, undo, renew again. So many
Words I want to say, to unsay, and say
Again… but you managed to form
The words: I love you, son. And you
Said them more than once. You spoke them
In a voice that even today, carries me
Through this world of uncertainty, untruths,
Disappointment and ruthlessness.
Thank you for showing and giving me
Your lessons in loyalty. Thank you
For that voice, which still lingers here
Like the singer in my head of this song
I call my life. Thank you for being
Strong and standing
For things like hard work and honesty;
Your steadfast belief in God, and humility.
Thank you for the gifts of laughter;
For those golden seasons of summers,
And even the winters. Thank you for
Loving my mother in a way
She always deserved to be
Though you weren’t very tall, I walk in your
Stalwart shadow now. Yes, I am a small thing
Made larger by your presence. Some say
I am your ‘spit,’ your son, your mirror reflection.
And yet, in some lone way, I am different.
I wish we had more days in the sun, more
Time to decipher and fix all our mutual
Complications. Yet, when I speak of love
There is no mystery, no bitterness, nor distraught
I get love. You taught me this! Though the
Clouds have coalesced and swallowed your
Sun, you’ll always cast a giant’s shadow
Over this kid, this runt, this man I’ve become.
Happy Father’s Day.