Friday, January 14, 2011

IF DADDY - A Poem for my Absent Father

Little girls need their Daddies too...

All too often we hear about young boys, particularly ones of African descent,  not having father figures and going off the rails.  We hear about them either ending up as fodder for jail, aimless wanderers with no idea how to behave as men and/or winding up being absent fathers themselves, with no sense of responsibility. Well guess what, sometimes those fatherless men end  up with fatherless daughters because these women  have no idea what it means to have an  entity around the house being a father or a man either. 
If there are no other male role models in their lives - friends, uncles  and such - then the journey to knowing what a 'Man' looks like is distressing.
Men are NOT the same as women purely because of that macho patriarchal socialization, programming and training of what a man is supposed to be.  Posturing Rap stars, magazines like FHM and bolshie arrogant banking city and media types have a lot to answer for.  But even then I think that idea is a confused misnomer. Who knows what manhood looks like these days when men can buy calf, bicep and pec implants, have as many cosmetic products as women  and expect women to pay their way out of spite for all the years they had to. Ok, maybe I'm being harsh there.
What I think is important though, is that there is a human responsibility to the nurturing of the future generations. Boy AND Girl children need good female and male ideals around them. Not perfect cos maybe that's too much to ask sometimes but they need people around them who are seen to  at least be trying to do the right thing. Kids are smart. They can tell the difference when someone cares or not.
Little girls need to feel the vibration of a man's voice that loves them. Then they will know the sound of Love. They need to feel the embrace of a man that respects them. Then they will know the touch of Respect and Love. They need to see the silhouette of a man wishing them sweet dreams.  Then they will know the shape of support for their dreams when they see it, the touch of respect when they feel it and the sound of Love when they hear it. No woman should suffer any form of abuse at the end of the fist or tongue of a man. It is unnecessary let alone wrong.
This poem is the for the father I have never known but who I love still for his absence. Part of my journey to finding out the true meaning of Womanhood has been through an unpredictable  and rocky path to understanding Manhood.
Click, listen, read, immerse, enjoy. Peace. Z

If  Daddy

daddy's gone 
            daddy's gone 
                   daddy's gone 
daddy's gone away
yes daddy's gone to stay gone

Was my existence braided on purpose
in to the journey of your mission bound spermatozoa?
where were they headed for real though?
meant for the long dark red of  my mothers fallopian tube?
to her open womb?

where i unfurled into this life
 a full thing with no name from my fathers side
just a black strike on my birth certificate
my fathers namelessness comes to me in dreams
or in the films of other peoples daddy’s

I’d turn my face ashamed of my dad
yes blindly ashamed and  blissfully proud
I’d be comforted, reassured and strong with my daddy
as he carried my 3 foot high body, my head resting on his shoulder
while he strided like palm trees sway

but I'd also be angry and hateful toward my daddy,
grateful toward my daddy, cuss him out in my pillow,
wish he were dead and call him by his first name for a week,
my jaw stubborn as the karma of my life without him

I’d be dutiful daughter and kiss him sweet on the cheek at bedtime
I’d want to smack my own dad in the mouth
disobey his rules / come back 43 minutes after curfew and not apologise
I’d be his sugar dumpling, loyal and smiling,

I’d be full of love  then  I’d curse in front of him  and back chat,
wear make up at thirteen and never bring my boyfriends home to meet him

I’d do all these things and more
just to test to my daddy
fling my arms around his neck and see if he’d forgive me
 just  to make sure,
I’d put my dad through hell
I’d do all these things and more
just to make sure

but where does the fire from all these impetuous tempestuous feelings go
in the of decades space, shoulder deep into an army back pack
smelling of johnny cakes mum made on Sundays and gunpowder
from the war that took him when i  was three weeks old.

my daddy was an army man with black cat claws
and couple of other women’s draws, notched on his rifle butt,
but he loved me enough to write a letter or two....
to do the right thing by his baby mama 

daddy should know his girls feet are strong
her shoulders are broad
that refined things don't pass by her ears and eyes unnoticed
no one can talk to her as if she’s
a fool

Daddy. Dad. Daddy.
How does that word sit on my lips?
a cluster of D’s exploding from my tongue
vibrating the air around me like an ectoplasmic echo

But I ain’t mad, just lonely
to know know what saying “Daddy” would be like
and a voice with bass in it
that recognised mine like keys in locks 
would call back
opening doors to safe and sound security
a full night sleep with my Super Dad snoring loudly down the hall
I ain’t mad

daddy’s gone away
yes daddy's gone to stay

Written by Zena Edwards 2008©


Gaylene said...

You've spoken for so many of us Zena. I do wonder where these unspoken imagined stories go. So many of us only have such musings and they never seem to go away no matter how old you grow. But the feelings change as you do - you've captured all that here. Thanks for vocalising...

Anonymous said...

Lots of good reading here, many thanks! I had been browsing on yahoo when I observed your post, I’m going to add your feed to Google Reader, I look forward to much more from you.