Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day 2009

For Hugh:

The ability to think in images
and set certain symbols free
comes from a man most comfortable in shadows
though born surrounded by sun and sea.

His wisdom emanates
like the solemn lights
from botanica candles,
evoking original firelight.
His torches of fatherly love ignite island roads,
branding cities in their streets.
My American days merge with memories of his Jamaican nights:
He and I have have shared symbols, journeys and travels:
I have found my father gazing along sand paths in Jamaica
a small child alone and awake at night
waiting for the riderless horse
that once carried and supported the weight of his own father.
Long before I was born,
I found myself apprenticed to my Father,
We fixed the broken Grandfather clock, together,
tinkering with it as small children
both of us listening to the voice in ourselves saying
that time, age and powerlessness are lies and illusions
-We can fix things, and if we've always been together
how could we ever fall apart?

The ability to dream in all colors
and define the woman I've wanted to be
comes from a man most comfortable in shadows
though born surrounded by sun and sea.

I've felt as scattered inside
as my father's family
my father's mixed heritage
begat mixed loyalties -
I, too have felt confused about all of the parts I am
and have felt ravaged inside -
parts of me torn apart.
I've believed in the illusion of any form of supremacy
and felt miniscule, when consumed by ignorance
of my heritage and history.
I've been that dutiful choir boy he was,
singing hymns for the congregation
swaying inside with the
ecstasy of spirituals.
My Father, future metaphysicist
young root doctor, energetic engineer
man-child of beaches and rivers
converging blood lines,
tributaries, winding veins.
When I finally make it through
the wide, unopened door of my father
I'm sure to find more glorious written and unwritten books
undiscovered herbs
placed carefully on handmade shelves.
Perhaps I'll find other rooms
which may contain suspended scenes from
My parent's first meeting which
began inside the poetry of a church
inside of the expressions of love
that he wrote to my Mother.
Expressions he never buried with her.
My brother and I would not exist
if not for the writing and reciting of these poems
written by my father, a former veteran, a forever soldier
a world within world traveler.

The passion to fight for love and self-expression
and voyage freely through my mind
comes from a man who with his inner wisdom
eradicated all sense of color, space and time.

One morning when we were walking, he
grabbed and held onto the light from
the sun presented its glow to me and said you
must shine your light with this intensity
burn down any obstacles
impeding your imagination
stay on sun-paths of truth.
I was astonished that the sun did not burn him.
One night, when we sat talking on our patio
he pointed directly to the moon brought it towards us,
balanced it on the tip of his index finger and
and twirled it around.
He said to me, "you've been here with many others
long before anybody went there with ships or machines.
You've already placed each brown foot in a crater
and declared the moon your finest shoes.
You are Queen and Solstice.
Woman and Goddess.
There is significance in your birth."
This man of shadows
this listener to angels, ancestors and dolphins
this rider of sub-sub marines
unfettered dancer
Jamaican King
my surviving parent
continues to shine light on possibilities
remembering, honoring, yet discarding the weights of cultures and colors
reminding us all of the infinite landscapes and geographies
of timeless times and better worlds.

Daddy, you've always been my soldier
my hero, my most, devoted confidante and committed guide.
I only dream big and deep
because your vision for me was far and wide.

Love you!

Tiffany Osedra Miller

1 comment:

Ralph Ivy said...

Oh, my... A beautiful ode to one's father. A statement of love with love for love. I loved the 4-line segments. The first one to stop me I had to write down:

The ability to move in all colors/
and define the woman I've wanted to be/ comes from a man most comfortable in shadows/ though born surround by sun and sea.

Shadows...sun and sea.

You are the best, Bassagirl. The gifts your father gave you use beautifully and give to us as well.