three poems by omó pastor

a letter from an absent father

(to his son)


some days i want to be present,

but i am a chronic long-distance lover,

ask your mama.

some days i crave the freedom to stare at you + see me in you

hold your hands + cradle your breath as

i see my peace in your eyes,

colors in your skin,

sun-kissed.

i want them to say, you are me

i am you.

i want to be your guide,

your protector, nurturer, healer, soul bender, heartbeat,

but

my daddy ain’t teach me these lessons that i wish to teach you, and you came a little too early for me to learn + i done mastered the art of long distance love, so you’ll be stronger without me,

the winds won’t break you as they did not break me,

but my absence will

break you, teach you, + heal you all in one.

this is the only lesson my father taught me,

and i am here to teach you the same.



to mothers who will raise black sons

(with absent daddies)


teach that boy he is nothing like his daddy

who had no strength to raise a boy into a man

because he, himself, was still a boy

left by another boy stuck in a man’s body.

sit that boy down between your arms

+ remind him

his heart beats different

his blood is not tainted

his energy is/can be both masculine + feminine

teach that boy his future lovers are not his property

love for brothers that are not blood

does not question his masculinity rather validates it

hold his precious head between your hands as you baptize him for the first time,

tell him his skin is not a disease

no matter how many red dots society places on him.


but above all,

teach that young boy peace.

look that boy in his eyes

full of fresh waves

dreams + pain

tell him how much he is/must be his own peace,

not his mother, father, future lovers,

tell that boy,

he IS enough.



the black boy’s lesson


sit up right.

stand up straight.

stop that whining, now!

pick your head up!

Boy! Put that gun down!

Is you crazy?!

That water gun will get you killed!

You is Black.

You is a boy.

Look here chile,

in this here land of the free,

Black boys ain’t allowed to

Laugh

Smile

Play

Grow

Mess up

Cry

Breathe

Live..

But Ma, I’m only twelve.



Photography by omó pastor


~


omó pastor is a storyteller who uses these artistic mediums to heal and empower through authentic stories. Eniola Adeniyi, artistically known as omó pastor, is a Nigerian-American, published storyteller of the African Diaspora based in New York. She began her full-time career after graduating with her Bachelor’s in English from North Carolina A&T State University. Her creative lens focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality, emotions, and history while being of African descent in contemporary society. Her aim is to merge past and present to create a fluid future where Black people can heal, breathe and BE.

In 2018, she published her first book, Gaze, a collection of poetry, prose, and photographs. Through this book, she teamed up with other Black women writers to peel back and unpack the layers of Black masculinity. In 2020, her first short film, Privilege, was released and has received many accolades and has been featured in numerous film festivals across the globe: from America to Congo. The film explores the dynamics of the African Diaspora through both the Nigerian immigrant and African-American struggles.

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