Muses on African Fatherhood: A Father’s Day Poem

Father’s Day or any other day
I am here learning life, like a
son, brother, uncle, father, or friend.
And when I fail, please remember
my heart is still learning for you.

When wars of life overthrow thee
may you find peace from this revelation;
I may not be your hero father of today
but in you is the conqueror of the future.

Open the doors shut with familiarity
find me unseen where tradition forbids:
cooking, washing, feeding, and singing.
I carry the keys to these forbidden zones
so I can fling you high towards this life.

Like a roof, I have no place to age.
Inside my head is a falling home,
exhausted by how I can be the man
society wants me to be and seen.
In the silence, I pray they let you be.

The burden of strength on my shoulders
I inherited no consent to be breakable.
When I witness you breaking to pieces,
my fists clench into teeth, ready to bite
the curse of whatever it means to man up.

The chains of old wisdom hold me.
I hope you know my trials to free you;
weeping without tears as I hold you
because of what they do not want to see,
that a strong man cries not when hurt.

Before this day ends, I give you me;
a book of dreams, plans, lessons, and prayers
on how to be, wishing to be, and not to be.
When I am gone, the book perishes not.
It is the only log I ask you not to burn.

Hip Hop Solo Performance by Liyen Alex

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