We “oh! … hi”’d and didn’t know whether to shake hands or hug(?), we shook hands. Next to you, a ridiculously sharp jawline parading as your boyfriend(?) waits, nonchalantly, and the space takes us back to that windowless library room where we met, where we bonded over the Rwandan genocide, pan-Africanism and the future of this and that. I made my way into your thesis and when summer came you said, “here’s my number”. We drank assorted tea in the basement of a haven I can’t find again, lunched over grilled lamb with tahini sauce and we talked of your time in the West Bank, I remember how your voice picked up at injustice and how I knew someday you’d light the world. Honestly, I struggled to read DuBois, Baldwin or even Angelou but to me you were a revolution.
Anyway, you introduce the boy with forest coloured eyes,
warm brown skin and cool cool grace and we say hello like men,
I stalk his facebook later and he seems amazing.
And you look happy.
Athletes and Grammy award winners are always thanking God, their grannies or their mums the trinity of effort, for bringing them this far, and it’s not a competition but dads don’t get enough cred.
I know dads who take Mondays off to build treehouses for their daughters, dads who trade Friday night boxing for after school ballets, dads who take pay cuts and cancel flights to watch nativity plays, dads who all of a sudden cannot believe this is their creation, the best thing they have ever done, the only thing that matters and their lives go from monochrome to rainbows. I know dads with slipped discs who still take the risk of piggybacks dads who give up cigs, trade beers for diapers, drop Subarus for Volvos dads who cross deserts bare feet so their flock can rest dads who trade their lungs as life jackets across the Med to make sure their little ones can have a beginning. Dads who for a second or more think they’re steel when they stand in the way of bullets, bombs and falling roofs. Dads who get up from rubble, flee and rebuild, still strive and provide because that’s what dads do. Dads try.
My dad is an “I love you” dad he’s also an “not under my roof” dad I know many “I’m proud of you” dads many “I’ll kill you if you touch them” dads lots of “what do you want for Christmas” dads all of them are “I don’t know if I’m doing this right” dads.
My dad is an “I love you” dad he’s also an “not under my roof” dad sometimes, that’s really the same thing.
One of my favourite bits of Scripture
is when Joshua, unbeknown to him
sees the Angel of the Lord,
draws his sword and demands
whose side are you on?
And the Angel, Commander of the Heavenly armies says
I’M ON MY SIDE.
I think this is how we cry to God
on the hospital floor,
with milky teeth and angry hair
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
and only the cancer replies.
This is how we draw swords, ready to war
over bombed schools and hollow homes
we scream, WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
amidst the rubble and rebar.
This is how on days when the water covers my head,
I have come to my end and I am sinking
my lungs barely let out a sigh and
I whisper whose side are you on?
WHOSE SIDE AM I ON?
I’M ON THE SIDE WHERE
YOU TAKE THE SANDALS
OFF YOUR FEET.
I AM THE I AM.
IN THE CHEMO,
N THE CHAOS,
IN THE CAVERNS,
An “I can’t make you love me” poem
to the girl with my soul trapped in her teeth,
the one with glitter and blue highlighter on her galaxy skin
a forfeit poem, a white flag above my castle poem.
A “Love letter to my bros” poem challenging masculinity, declaring love for my bros, my future groomsmen, the ones i’ve missed flights with, the ones i’ve cried to, the ones i’ve been to Budapest with, yes, a love letter to my main men.
A “Love letter to me” poem, most likely a performance piece Mohammed-Ali-esque poem, filled with quips, taking flints to my insecurities, ending with an encouragement to the listener to write a “love letter to me” poem.
Disruption: This is how the last century enabled connectivity, the human population has high velocity, lethal kinetic energy, AI has suddenly become mixed with human lives but it takes more than a reboot to be embraced.