Forgive Them Father

Slam Theatre 2.0 The Miseducation

I’ve been dealing a lot with misogyny this week.  Something I want to write more about because of how heavily it weakens the men and children who are surrounded by it.  I thought I’d start with posting this poem I wrote for SLAM THEATRE 2.0: The Miseducation, a play that ran for the Intersections Festival at the Atlas Theater in 2011.  I was commissioned to write poems based on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill song titles.  It was performed a by a woman, and I was flattered that many women assumed a woman wrote it.  More on this topic soon…
our fathers

this is not a prayer
this is an ultimatum
addressed to the coat of armor
you call your manhood
whether addressed as dad
or daddy
or pops
or father
or patriarchal society

this was written by hand
in my bedroom
that still stinks so sweet
from the last man
shifting his hips
and biting my lips
under sheets i bought myself
his cologne is an unpleasant tickle in my nose
and his drunken philosophies
did little to impress a sober mind
but my limbs swallowed him whole
and my skin inhaled his vapor
and i let him
no made him
leave in the wee hours of the morning
with my essence on his breath
and with my own peace of mind
in the history of my life
he doesn’t count on my fingers
maybe not even my toes

This is not a prayer, but
my thesis, that like me
was born into a post free love
pre-female president world
where forces fight
to shove my womb
and all it’s unpleasantness
of blood
and cum
and life
back into the literal euphemisms
and the dark allies
where freedom is aborted

I am neither the pin-up
or the shoulder pads
or the apron

i am me

This is not a prayer, but
a monologue you don’t recognize
it is not only of my own doing
it is a world i was grandfathered
no grand-mothered into
happy and healthy
breast fed by strong willed women
not pasteurized
or hydrogenated
or hyphenated
not bothering to scour the milk cartons pictures
of lost children i never had
my voice,
even without your bass
or your bully pulpit
speaks the same truths
and my thoughts are not the after taste
of your male idioms preached as gospel

I think, write, and speak this
to let you know, i forgive you
and though it might be millenniums away from receiving it
i’ve already accepted your apology

3 thoughts on “Forgive Them Father

  1. Bold. And I’m not usually a fan of the slam style….
    I dig that you got so far into character. There’s palpable empathy in this poem. Had you not told me, I would’ve thought it was written by a woman, too. I once saw Patricia Smith perform a poem in which she adopted the personality and frustrations of a white, working-class neo-Nazi type. If you don’t know about her, she’s African American. If I hadn’t have been looking right at her I would’ve sworn she was the man in her poem. This poem has a similar effect on me. Many thanks. I love that you do what you do, and unapologetically.

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