A 2016 study showed 1 in 4 children in the U.S lived in a household without a “father figure.” It did not take into account happily separated parents or queer families, who choose ways of being present for their children that are not typical of the heteronormative patriarchy.
Nonetheless, the numbers are drastic.
In Louisiana, 1 in 7 adults are currently in prison, on probation or out on parole. A recent study on recidivism revealed that 77% of state prisoners who were released in 2005 were imprisoned again by 2010.
Refugee children from Central America were taken from the arms of their fathers.
Many are still separated from them.
There is something very wrong with the ways of the State that contribute to the absence of the father. These ways must be destroyed so that we honor our responsibility over the flowers we blossomed.
This is for the fathers.
To the ones whose lives were taken by the people in uniform; to those who were taught that absence was acceptable and to all of you doing your best just to survive in a world that paints you ugly.
Cause you’ve only seen yourself a criminal cholo;
a clownish gang banging rapist murderer.
Your face doesn’t exist in our childrens books.
You are erased from the imagination, full-time construction worker, working graveyard shifts, driving long distances far away from the partner and babies.
The mama hustles too, on the kitchen floors and in warehouses with no windows, pushing pellets like they pushed out the children.
You don’t get to see it.
the pictures of the black brown red yellow man
kissing his son,
tender loving caresses on furrowed brows and cold cheeks?
They were thrown off the mantel into the fire and deleted from the screens of the phones so that we may forget the pain we don’t have time to deal with.
This is for you, a painted portrait born in my imagination.
And to those that don’t practice machista masculinity;
to ones whose gender is bending the roles shoved violently down their throats,
who exist in a liberated fluidity
despite the fact
that the system calls them faggot
when they want to be called father.
This is for you.
All of you, here is a crimson rose for you.
You are reincarnations of stardust, fossilized tree sap with leaves in the center, plant medicine and purple maiz. You are divine beings with much to teach the semillitas of the earth.
They, tiny seedlings, are listening from the tree tops above to the earthen floor below.
They are memorizing lines, their minds being etched with a permanent marker that creates inscriptions into their cerebral process.
You must make marks on them that speak truth on their existence, that show x-ray images into the brutal history of colonization and its legacy called institutions. Show them how they will be perceived in the real world arena. Prepare them and dress them in the armor regalia of pride and humility, of staying humble, gentle and strong.
You are loved, father, dad, pops, papa, papi, never doubt it. Let that love fuel you to your feet, into a step by step journey of breaking society’s expectations and surpassing even your own limitations.
Emerge as the kaleidoscope printed butterfly they said you could never be.
Let them catch you.