Saturday, July 19, 2014

role models

[performed at the canadian festival of spoken word 2014]

for fourteen years i wished my father dead
at the age of eighteen
i buried him
it would take another six years to be rid of his physical body

it's been a decade since he died, but he still sneaks his whispers through my throat
grips my vocal cords and squeezes tight
strangling tones
i wonder sometimes if he thinks that he's defending me
or if this is his revenge
exposing himself to *my* loved ones
sliding his arrogance and his violence beneath words that i'd intended to use soothingly

the horror that i feel when i hear myself overridden
and see my own responses reflected in yours
is the stomp of his feet on my steps
the thump-thump-thumping that says a beating's coming
it's in the tightening in my chest when you put me in my place
when you hold up a mirror for me to see his angry, desperate, lonely face

but i'll never be like him
i'll never burn myself to set fire to others
never revel in the type of winning that made him such a loser
and i will love
with all my heart
and i will love again even when my heart has been broken

it took me eighteen years to bury my father
and every day that goes by i stand beside his grave
tamping down the shuddering dirt with my spade
and praying
for the strength to make *damned* sure that he stays that way

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