|Priscilla and Megan with other youth from BAY-Peace.|
Priscilla and Megan are two high school aged spoken word artists. Priscilla is a former intern for Forward Together's Youth Organizing Program. Megan is an intern at BAY-Peace, an organization dedicated to empowering Bay Area youth to transform militarism and other forms of violence through youth organizing and artistic resistance.
Below are two pieces capturing their experiences with Fathers Day. They are being reposted from last year's Strong Families blog series.
"No Title" by Megan Manansalas Torio
I got problems facing left and right
and everytime I turn it seems like another problem is running my way
I’m confused at which way to go
Because another step further means
that I’m stuck in between family issues and broken dreams
and a step back
is just another look into reality’s blueprint of
recreating the past
so I look down and now I’m standing on thin glass
that’s beginning to crack
so I jump
I fall through different mind sets
So my mind sets into another reality
I look up and theres no more problems with family
No looks into a troubled community
the news channel is actually filled with good news
so I sit back in this reality happily
but I fall as my legs begin to bend
I’m back to square one with no end
momma’s hands are falling off along with her hopes and patience
for a man who can't get his life together
socialized by society’s oppression in so many ways
he hasn’t gone into the emotional part of being a teenager type of faze
he drinks his feelings away while the smoke that leaves his mouth
steals another day
55 and barely standing
I need him to be there
when the hat on my head leaves the air
I need him standing
by the checkpoint waiting for his college daughter’s landing
I need him to love ma like she’s loved him for 25 years
I need to look left and right and imagine a better life
for better years
Because right now I’m still falling
I see my reality and the shattered glass above me falling too
I’m stuck hoping to fall into looking at a better you.
to the father that made me, me
if it weren’t for you and your mistakes
then i’d have no dreams
I wouldn't have a better reason to stay awake
so here's a thank you
to the many other mistakes.
"No Title As Well" by Priscilla Hoang
It’s funny how this country has so many founding fathers but I don’t have a single one.
They founded America but who found me?
You can pinpoint my location on a map.
A satellite could easily track my actions.
But my life was a single track train going in one direction.
Where is the engine?
Did it spontaneously combust?
Sometimes the temperature of my anger rises over the point of ignition when I think about my
Who gave those motherfuckers the right to carve into a mountain?
Washington’s noble eyes bore through the social issues in America when he penned the Constitution,
While I was stuck washing a ton of knives that my dad stole for me because I loved to eat buttered toast so damn much.
I couldn’t believe it wasn’t better. My embittered mouth swallowed my words with my mom’s proverbial lashings, ones from you-got-all-your-bad-habits-from-your-dad, to the why-did-I-marry-hims.
So young, hugging my Teddy every night hoping that the fights with him would end.
She met him in San Francisco, home of the gold rush in the Golden Mountain, and thought she struck it rich like his glazed eyes at the casino,
Until finally, one day, when his cup of quarters were empty, she realized four kids too late that his actions were smoldering like a pile of ashes,
Like Jefferson, she declared her independence and Linked in to free her enslaved emotions.
When I compare my tanned complexion to my mom’s fair skin, she tells me.
“You have your D-A-D’s nose. It’s so ugly.”
And I can’t help but notice her disgust, but it’s gone in a gust of wind; she says with too much gusto,
“but you’re still beautiful,” reassuredly.
And I can’t help but notice that she blames all of the negative attributes about me on him,
Never once admitting to herself that my temper and lack of communication stemmed from what she never finished.
So what the fuck does father’s day mean to me?
He was never here. She was always busy.
Who do I love? Who do I celebrate?
And finally the realization struck.
I celebrate myself.
I celebrate the fact that in spite of never having that white picket fence family, the fact that my single mama raised me right, and struggled to get a college degree in such a lonely world, led me to the place I am now.
I am a proud young Asian woman who can accept myself for exactly who I am.
I once hated myself for his living blood flowing through me.
the mirror reminded me daily that he is someone I could never forget.
For without him, I could not exist.
So I look at myself with compassion.
And although my insecurities can sometimes get the better of me, I grow.
Sometimes alone and vulnerable to that same gust of wind,
the colors in it whispered to me, "You will thrive."
Somewhere deep in my roots was an acorn that grew Oak branches that intertwined in this society’s values that told me, I needed a father figure in my life.
I am barely a flowering tree but from this internal love flows rich, sweet sap
that ruins your favorite shirt when you lean against it.
And ants feed upon it like the world’s knowledge feeds me.
Although it took me nearly sixteen years to realize this,
maybe having a father leave me was exactly what I needed
To turn over a new leaf.