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,
i want them to say, you are me
i am you.
i want to be your guide,
your protector, nurturer, healer, soul bender, heartbeat,
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
But Ma, I’m only twelve.
Photography by omó pastor