Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembering Dad

Remembering Dad

Classic black man
Race man
How can people know more about him than I?
should I be mad at him or myself
the men tell me how great he was
he was dad to me
the man who whupped my ass unmercifully
who argued with mom til she packed us and left
the man who gambled at the Elk's lodge
while I listened to Elijah Muhammad on the radio upstairs
went to Lowell Jr. High
bloods beat down poor white boy when they killed Emmit Til

Dad used to make me go with him to funeral parlors
deliver flowers to dead Negroes
cold and gray
terrifying me
maybe he wanted to teach me not to fear death

Dad was known over the Bay
known in the clubs where he danced even in his 80s
the people have stories about him I've never heard
making me sad I didn't know him like this
public man
social man
political man
only as father man
old fashioned
from World War I
dressed sharp every day
starched shirt
suit, tie, carnation in lapel
shoes shined at Perry's on 7th
Ollie and I went with him on Sundays
then to church
any and every church to promote his florist bizness
holy ghost
we made the rounds
ecumenical for bizness
age came to dad
starched shirts dirty
suits pissed stained
never saw him sick
until those cigars caught up with him in his 80s
in the hospital for a week or two and he was gone
the man I didn't know yet knew too well
the man I became yet couldn't wear his clothes
stand in his shoes
no matter what I become I cannot be him
only myself
what a shame
Does prince ever become king?

--Marvin X

No comments:

Post a Comment