Dear Father

I wish you could have seen me do my thang,
I wish you could have been there the first time I sang,
I wish you could have seen how your baby boy flow,
I wish you could have seen me rock just one show…
Dear Dad,
These words are being written and spoken,
Because my heart and soul feel broken.
I laugh to keep from crying,
But I still haven’t healed,
After all of my years of my goofiness and joking.
You got me open,
Hoping this ill feeling will pass,
Won’t last.
I wear a mask so my peeps won’t ask for the truth.
Truthfully speaking,
The truth hurts,
But I’m beyond hurting,
I’m in pain,
Why does it hurt so much?!
I find myself,
Fighting with myself every day to remain sane.
My peeps think I’ve changed,
Maybe trippin’ off my fame,
But I’m still the same,
Still the same ole James.
I know it’s a shame I don’t come around as much,
But I don’t want them to see me acting strange,
I don’t want them to feel one drop of my rain,
But I can’t seem to get these feelings to stop,
I can’t get these thoughts off my brain.
Now when I really need to reach out for you, Dad,
And touch your hand,
I can’t believe you’re out of range.
I’m starving for your love and I’m begging please ease the crave.
When I was little,
I thought you left because I wouldn’t behave.
Later on in life I found out that it was the cane,
As well as other thangs,
And with all the scars,
It was hard,
But I learned to forgive,
And forgave…
I forgave you for missing my basketball games,
And the touchdowns I scored at the football games.
I forgave you for coming home high and drunk,
Wrestling with my mother going insane.
I forgave you for missing all of my track meets,
And for not being there to greet all the pretty girls that I wanted you to meet.
I forgave you for missing my birthdays and graduations,
And not being there when I needed advice for certain situations.
I forgave you despite the fights,
The tears,
For all the years lost,
Wondering if I was loved.
Sometimes all I needed was a call and a hug.
I mean, I understand that people break up, don’t make up,
And some relationships don’t last forever,
But why weren’t we together?!
Ma could have found a new man,
But where was I going to find a new dad?
Looking back,
I wished I would have begged, maybe pleaded my case,
’Cause I felt like I didn’t matter,
Like I was deleted and erased.
I would cry,
And still cry so much that I get headaches.
I see you every time I see me,
And I can’t do nothing,
But ask GOD to bless me,
Expand my territory,
Place HIS hands on me,
And to please keep evil far away from me.
I ask HIM to protect me,
Like I wanted you to protect me from the bullies and the police,
Now to protect my soul I write poetry and release.
And some say I’m a beast,
But I’m just trying to find peace,
So I can pick up the pieces of me that have fallen apart.
I’ve shopped all over for love,
And I’ve ended up with a lot of good items in my cart,
That helped me pull out the dart,
And helped me get out of the dark,
One being my art…
But along the way all of my decisions weren’t so smart,
Because my love was amputated,
My life became complicated and my family…
Dad, I don’t know if you knew or not,
But my sweet family became dysfunctional…
I remember,
I remember hiding under the dining room table when you and Ma would fight.
I remember dishes, pots, and pans being put in flight.
I remember the hole that you punched in the wall.
I remember when Ma called us from work and told us not to let you in,
And you broke in talking ’bout, “I’ma get y’all!”
I remember the alcohol and the smoke,
And going to the bathroom every five minutes so I wouldn’t choke.
I remember you calling and telling me,
That I had a brother that died that I never knew.
I remember when you snatched my training wheels off of my little orange bike,
And making me ride when I was only two.
I remember when you pushed Ma and she broke her ankle.
I remember thinking,
“How could you do this to such a beautiful angel?!”
I remember Ma waking us up in the middle of the night saying,
Put some clothes in a Jewel’s bag.
We’re going to Grandma’s…
And if your father come up to your school,
Don’t tell him where we’ll be!”
I remember spending Christmas at Grandma’s,
Playing with my Stretch Armstrong,
Thinking, “Man, this ain’t my house…
How did Santa Claus find me?”
I remember your stinky feet.
I remember all that pepper you would put on those ghetto meals,
That you would fix for us to eat.
I remember listening to you on the radio before I would go to school,
I remember all those model cars and planes you would make,
And all the kids on the block thought that my dad was so cool.
I remember when you ran down the car,
And I was thinking,
“Damn, Dad’s fast!”
I remember how you would curl your mustache,
I remember the past.
I remember the good and the bad.
I remember thinking is this love false.
I remember us moving to the burbs, and my boys replaced my love that was lost.
They would make me laugh and giggle,
And my boy even taught me how to dribble, so I could make the team,
And I did!
I thought that I would die without you,
But Rome, Todd, Dre, Ike, and Eric made sure that I lived,
And was never sad.
They even gave me their dads,
Mr. Kemp, Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Cross, and Mr. Price,
Became my dads,
My Cool Daddys!
But the little boy in me still wants his daddy, badly!
I feel like a scared little boy afraid to become a man,
But I think I’m ready,
I think it’s time.
I think it’s time to shine and get mine.
I think it’s time to shine and get mine,
So I can ease my mind and let my soul climb.
I think it’s time to stand as a man on my own two,
Just like you use to do,
Before those demons started haunting you.
’Cause all I ever wanted to do was to make you and Ma proud,
And I wonder if you are,
I wonder if you know.
I wonder if you know that GOD gave me a gift.
I wonder if you know about the spirits that I lift.
I wonder if you know that I touch people with my words.
I wonder if you know that I inspire action with my verbs!
I wonder if you know that your baby boy did a show,
That aired for millions to see on HBO,
And that hard New York crowd that I didn’t even know,
Actually gave me a standing O!!!
I know you know!
I know you’re proud!!
’Cause I’ma be the best just like you wanted to be,
Watch and see!
And just in case you can’t,
I’ma scream it so loud that I shake the clouds,
And move ’em out the way of my sunshine.
’Cause that’s what you are, Dad…
James Ivy Richardson Sr.
Do you hear me?!!
You are my sunshine!
That’s why I forgave you!
’Cause my love for you is still the same.
It may have gone thru a transformation,
But it never really changed.
So I swear,
On my mama and on my name,
I’ma stop this rain!
Conquer this pain!!
Make sure that you did not die in vain!!!
And when I get to heaven…
When I get to heaven,
I’ma jump in your arms,
We’re going to kick back like when I was little,
And watch…
The Bears game!
I wish you could have seen me do my thang,
I wish you could have been there the first time I sang,
I wish, I wish that you didn’t have to go,
I wish you could have seen me rock just one show!
I love you, Dad…

– J. Ivy

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