The name on a pizza but
That wasn’t your name.
It’s just what people called you when you held
Slimy beers in your hand
When you had a pipe and some
Green leaves, white powder,
Magic pills, street slang, fists and
Anger that came in bursts tangled with,
Mangled with the brutality of your
Wildfire spitting spirit.
You racked your shaved hair
Opened your mouth and spewed red war
And squinted your eyes while
You told me
Who was I?
Didn't I know respect?
Couldn't I see that you put a roof over my head?
Or that I filled the water too high on my hot chocolate?
That my folding of a towel was awfully corrupt with mistakes?
That I got lost way too much?
But look at me
Laugh with me, let’s pump our arms and
Put our sunglasses on, flex to the
Mirror and pretend we’re strong.
Blast All-Star, Lauryn Hill, Californication down 1960 and roll the windows down to
(Bianca, I’m your father)
The sweltering clouds, the forceful fits of the Sun
And eat awful Chinese food, and walk down the
(And when I talk to you, I wanna hear YES SIR)
Aisle together and feel bad together
(LOOK AT ME)
And cook and cry and
(DO YOU HEAR ME)
Because I’m weak and you’re weak
And when I look in the mirror
Half of me is you.
You were thirty-five, and I was ten.
(I'm so sorry I hurt you m'ija)
And all the hatred was spewing through my heart
Because I couldn't understand why
(You know I love you)
Even though I wanted these things
And hoped maybe you did
(I'm your father)
Lies melted on your tongue like candy
And my innocence peeled off my scalded skin and
When I looked at you all I saw in your soul was—
"I don't care about the girls, I just want my son."
But I ran, crawled, chased you,
Light and darkness of my life,
Shadow of myself,
Love I will never have,
Daughter that I'll never be.
Because all I could do was
Hate and love you all the same.
Now seven years later and
I’m eighteen and you’re forty-three.
I can’t remember the lines on your face
Or the way you talk
And the way I placed you above everyone.
But I think about you all the time and
Whenever I see Tony's pizza while I ring
Someone up at the check stand my soul
Pinches stubborn thoughts and finds the place in me
I hid long ago in black, oiled shame
And you come back to me
And you're with me and
It's been seven years but you'll always be part of me
Haunting me, taunting me, scoffing at me
My heart seals away the thoughts of you, me, us
When we struggled and let words and love
Drop, worn down like
The foundation of my soul
And I wish
I could take all the love in me and put it back in you
And your parents and their parents and their parents and
Their parents because maybe then
There would be one less ten year old
What the hell they did wrong when
They couldn’t find the love of a father
That was never—