Saturday, 31 December 2011

After The Stabbing

Leant against the minted green mottled gate 
with a bowl of corn meal porridge
cradled in crinkled cinnamon palm
the Nanny crouched
knees bent up
a childs finger thick strip of sugar cane
waggling between her supple lips
she slow goat chewed

blinked gently in the breeze flavoured by
the earth and sun
she shades her eyes to make sure
she does not miss her cue

she waves the boy to come along
a backward hand gripping playful air
loose at the fingers, wrist loose
as the hammock hung between the bows
of swaying trees in the yard
she beckoned him to come along
her clavicle shining and open

the boy, still tight in his shoulders
his knees weak with realisation,
almost locked with  fear

Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Place Under This Sun

The blasé gaze of the Sun makes me blush each morning
I imagine myself stretching for It to the four corners
breathed into, by the light of Its touch, ragged ends of night dreams
disperse, those of the day illumine 

when the alarm clocks sadistic bone rattling digs in
the mirage touch is blasted into thousands of sharp seconds
the blunt object of 60 minutes beats my head
24 hours have me in a strangle hold 

my squint breaks, as I try to magnify a single ray to a pinpoint
to pass it through the eye of necessities needle 
in an attempt to sew a heliologic patchwork of brilliant ideas 
that match the airy whims of my star sign

into an exact science as to why I should get up
to cast a feisty fiery glimpse on the equinox 
of a reason for why I shouldn't just 
play all day, only to stub my toe on the table leg of obligation.

The planet goes about its turning business
I wriggle under the food sac I am commissioned to carry
at birth, my national insurance number proof evidence
Do I resign to being placenta? My body the nourishment?
my mind expendable, irrelevant? 

Plugged in, I can tune out
but at times, I am irrevocably distracted by
a heat, that reason has no business with.
It just is, captured by solar panels

on roof tops, screwed on street poles
fueling disgruntled cogs, people in buses, in cars,
on the cold pavement rushing by me,
blurred by the warmth on my back. The fog inside 

evaporates when I halt
to lift my face east and bathe
for a timeless moment, 
thinking of daisies in Summer.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Thursday, 3 November 2011

South Facing Window

Since I moved house
I can no longer see you

since I moved, your shine paints the west side 
of my shared Victorian semi-detached
and I am jealous of my neighbours 

they don't even open the curtains at night.
so when the street lights blip on
and the sky is painted a drab (lack lustre) orange 
that muffles the brilliance of your distant cousins

I am left wondering if you miss me
and my laboured rants, that you've expansively
listened to since I was a lonesome ashy kneed kid,
who thought you were so beautiful

and believed Juliette must have been a real stunner
for Romeo to say she was better looking than you

I was happy when when I moved
but greatly vexed that I would not be able 
to share my secrets with you directly
but make do with inventing your mood 
when your luminous song bends around brick
surfs over the roof of my new home,

to bleach the trees in the backyard
till they are sterling statues, with silvery spindles of fingers, 
full of quivering tongues, in the breezy dark

But then at least, from my couch, I comfortably imagine 
that unconditionally you fall across the slates 
wishing you could penetrate and 
envelop me in your crystal gaze again

Zena Edwards©

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Tear

A poem
has a tear naturally riding
the dolce wave that winds whimsically
through each line

the stanza is toppled
by the deluge
wringing out the last emotion

The invisible umbilical
blunged* between writer and reader
determines the turn of the passion

the unassuming  tear
shall be flavored with it
infusing the world to rights

*to blunge - The wet process of blending clay with water in order to form a suspension for use in ceramics

Written By Zena Edwards ©

Monday, 31 October 2011

A diary entry - a blue song

there is this song that i want to sing you all
not that my voice is good, its cracked
got broken when the moon
looked away. don't blame her
she's not that easily distracted, there was
a real war going on one time
so she turned for a moment to see 
I smile with my mouth turned down
what the noise was. when she did 
my top note shattered. i was sore for a day
or three but i stll remember the melody

 so don't expect clear water
all i got is soft mottled syrup
clotted near the aorta of the harmony
but sweet
liable to break your heart still
yeah i believe i can say that
with humble authority

these lips have chapped
from all the hurricanes  i've blown
all the circle songs
that have raised the dead who  camped in my back yard
but i'm not ashamed of those angels , not me

i got a song i want to sing for you
 something i am proud of.

i'm a lady with a blue song
a blues song made of diamonds, 
ash and water and golden syrup

written by Zena Edwards 2011©

Thursday, 27 October 2011

haiku red

Being Undermined

in just one place, there!
hot scratches of anger scrape
her chest raw, don't speak...

words will make it right
the wrongness must be felt hard
keep it a secret

exorcise at the gym?
To drive it into the ground?
Let the fire burn hard

patience. time knows when
there's dignity in the wait
trees come to blossom

strike! the moist moment
ripe to release with control
injustice: fair game

haiku green

Let it go

her lashes lower
shoulders meant for relaxing
sing a sigh, hot bath

haiku yellow

You Joy

face ache, inner glow
thermostat set to 'roasting'
next joke, reload, go!

haiku blue


Just too much, they said.
No-one should have that much, true?
Sadness chooses who.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Dead Line - By Zena Edwards

The piece is about a frustrated artists who is stuck in a loop of dead end temp jobs and her infuriating current boss who haunts her every waking and sleeping hour…

Click to find enlarge. Find the smiley face...

Written and performed by Zena Edwards©
Commissioned by James Robinson for BBC Radio 4.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

4 months breathing this air

i met a Spirit today
a warm new Spirit, a friendly little Spirit
still asking for it's Mama for milk
not knowing he needed to be held still
for healthy growth
your average human being should hug
4x a day for healthy emotional development: security

We spoke a long while, he told me plenty
not in the mouthed codes
i'd decipher as 'english', no
in burbble gurgles, conversating
with my psyche, asked me to listen
to hush enough to hear my own pulse

to listen to pure talk about his day
about the crazy people from the day before
who never held him right and talked too loud
or the fact that if he looked at his foot
and thought about it hard enough at the same time
he could make the toes wiggle

he smiled in his dreams
drew long breath, filling tiny new  lungs
nodded his head as he took instruction
alert to learn, walk strong in awake dreams
with a heads up about the next day
i envied his sleep

and his communing
the airwaves clear and ungarbled, he smiles again
before he wakes

Written by Zena Edwards©

The prince and the poor bitch

i'm a raggedy rich girl with empty pockets
looking at those invisible diamonds on my fingers

you are a list of encores on my palms
an a to z of inhalations

if these simple lips and tight tongue
could put voice to that breath
they’d talk the wind of a web
of the bind of supine spells that snare me
in the sound of your name

in a pitch night of flawless entrapment
fucking with monumental moods swings
in between the blades of these venetian blinds
shades of flaring orange and intrepid indigo
you kiss (like its supposed) to make everything ok
i rise and fall in turbulent tides, turning, forever turning

                                                                                     Dangling from the edge of a dawn chorus
                                                                                     over dreams of Onyx unicorns and fawning lilies
                                                                                              who turn their sex to a moaning misty moon

clouded in lost love songs not yet born
love so potent it’s daunting
haunting until my stomach comes out on my tongue
I give what I have
and I desire only to be here

there are wet eyes in the sky tonight
watching a rich girl
with empty pockets
slipping a diamond so willingly
onto his finger

Written by Zena Edwards©

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Air port


in the efficient business
of separating, re-connecting
cheek pecks, slow kisses, embraces
corporate hand shakes and cold stares
In the market of trading emotions
That swarm over marble sky

hundreds of tons
love and lonely laden  lead geese
Knocking the roof of the troposhpere

Written by Zena Edwards

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Book Of Night Women By Marlon James

One of my Favourite Books of all time. It gave me an insight into what it could have been really like for African women in the Caribbean as slaves. Set at the beginning of the spread of the Slave Revolts all over the Caribbean, Lilith is what I would call the anti-heroine of the book. I do not like her, but was totally engrossed in her story. It a compelling read. Marlon James nails it.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

#Occupy Tweet micro freestlye...

 ... on a 3hr train ride from Stockton after a days mentoring, I saw so many tweets about Global Occupy 15th October. 
I had to go. I had to tweet
We squeeze you out of our minds
Where you squatted self righteous
Charging US rent
Now we occupy our own street
Student and Youth generation courage heaven sent
To remind us what we really are
Not bodies as batteries
But self empowered stars
#Occupy, the Whole World is Watching, SHINE!!
#OccupyLondonstockexchange #occupylsx

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Haley Never Cut On Wednesdays

Haley never cut on wednesdays
To see the inside outside
All screaming bloody murder in a streak
down her thigh, rimming her socks

“issues! the girls got issues man”, a statement
meant for the  grip of a seagulls beaks
over the city dump near a Thamesmead estuary
She let the river run the rest of the week

she dragged the children’s home for
broken glass and compass points,
discarded bits of metal car parts, barbed wire

Haley, patterned kente and celtic cumulus cloud
in her daydreamed skies
Anything to pretty up the walls
of the St Augustines care home for girls
waiting for the next fostering
brown girl out of a catalogue
cheap as an Argos sovereign
Wanted for the money, not wanted for the money

She raided the stationary cabinet for something to do
her heart was honeycombed like
Each hole a puncture in the photo
She brutally hole punched faces first
her brothers eyes as empty as in his mug shots
then necks, let it out

let the scream out through that black hole
White washed into stats and perforated facts about her
Mixed heritage and marked middle ground
Nothing is sacred in St Augustines
Just logged but nothing’s regulated except lights out

Written by Zena Edwards©

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Zena E's Selection Part 1

Here's a set of poems that I feel repesents a spectrum of my work from 2003, 06, 07 and '10. More to come soon.

Zena E's selection Part 1 by Zena Edwards

Friday, 7 October 2011

Last of a Line

i am the last of a line
it stops here with me

no children, as yet, to pass the blood on
to flow over the smoothed rocks
of an ancestors foundation

last of a line
where the estuary ends
And as a child, first generation born un the UK, I make sense of my world
With  British Tongue and brown skin.
The book I am to write is of how We came to be here
of how this world's history branded We,
And I am to make sense of the archipelago
Of stories, pebbles washed up on a the shores of
an old empire coughed me out

A free radical
that came into its own,
the thorn in the throat of a giant, a clot

Feel it

It was when I read poetry
that I found the Aunties and other Mama’s who knew me

it was as if they laid their hands upon me.
It was their in their voices, there in the resonance of words

Their deep sigh for me between the lines
to guide my steps

Space for me to write me
I imagine I had not lived an authentic moment
till I felt the word of Maya* or
mm-hm-ed the vex of Sapphire*

Stuck between the cracks of Englands creases
If you truly pressed them out you'd be sick for two bicentenaries
I'm not ready for that kind of sick alone

No, I need to find succor
in the symphonic stutters of Sister Sonia* 
and the cradle of Jean*

Thursday, 6 October 2011

For Marcella - RIP Sister

For Marcella

Bloodlines explores identity and a young womans returning of Afi-Cari-British heritage to her Ancestral homeland of Africa. I have been lucky enough to travel to many parts of Africa and the account of the countries visited in this piece are true. So is the part about being claimed by numerous tribes as one of their own. The  Khoisan girl in the piece Marcella, became a friend of mine when I selpt some night in the Namibian desert. She was beautiful spirit, generous and gentle, a wonderful singer and dancer. Sadly, she passed under mysterious circumstances in 2008. This post is for her.

Bloodlines is one of my first BBC Radio 3 commissions. I sound so young : ) But it was also one of my most enjoyable. I hope you enjoy it too...

Edens Serpent

Edens Serpent 

this ‘S’ on my chest
is a molten lava river
flowing down to power source my vulva

this ‘S’, a serpent
gripping its tail in its mouth
swallowing the knowledge of itself
till it is sated

singing infinite circle songs
signing itself onto its own scales
to the tone of the kundalini ohm
a note recognisable in us all
if we only listened

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

WHEN THE 33'S SPIN - Music, Race & a Little Girl - Pt. 1

When The 33's Spin - A poem

Eleven and home alone
with the turntable 
and the shiny liquorice  platter
playing a set
for memories to be made treasures and cuckoo stories
of broken hearts, of lost things found,
of courage liberated
the triumphant fist of blues
the spectrum of emotion played  in those grooves
onyx plates of Soul Food 

Bobby Womack's gravel molasses tones
riffs stretching notes  beyond the elasticity of time
Funkadelic dooloops scoop me on my rollerskates:
ripped carpets, broken door handles 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Code Empashis is a great Facebook camera club that arranges to meet and agre to assignment set by Bunny Bread, the founder of the club.
One Indian Summer day in October, th emission was to go to the Southbank and take portrait shots of people. I was apprehensive at first but once I go the hang os smiling sweetly and making people feel interesting, some interesting shots revealed themselves to me.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Revolving Anger

A monolgue poem...

the them, them - us,
these them and us conversations
"The problem", they diplomatically say,
"is multi-layered, full of social complexities"
With the air of lofty privilege economic freedom buys
 atop a pedestal of superiority
so let's level the playing field, pretend we are all equal,
to unpick the "multi-layered" perplexity
observe the symptom of a situation:
foot, shoe, walk
Could experience otherness, without being crippled
Could they walk their talk? Are their toes
to precious to dip in the waves of foreign,
would they become a slaves
if they made such a human connection?
(britain never never shall be -
With 1point plus trillion national debt)

Observe the psychology of (those you've) 
oppressed, the Pathology of privilege
speeding humanity to the edge
and 'those people' you give nothing to believe in
aren't blind to the example you set
of war mongering and thieving

callous, you build a society made to suit you’re measure
Stitch up the logic, the fix, the equation of pressure
- Lies x corruption x 'every breath is day light robbery'
string up Robin, reward the sheriff
let them riot x looting squared for a media frenzy

Sunday, 25 September 2011

LIVE @ Jazz Verse Box, Brit Jazz Festival, 7th Sept '11

Jazz Verse Box - the brain child of Jumoke Fashola.
Thanks to Simon Wallace on Piano, Winston Clifford on Drums and Davide Mantovani on Bass – who made my poems come aurally to life for me, in the moment,  in the true Spirit and Style of Conversation..

Zena Edwards @Jazz Verse Jukebox Brit Jazz Fest 2011 by JumokeFashola

Friday, 19 August 2011

Yellow crab

click to enlarge

Best seen enlarged. Hairy legs and all...
 Bahia Brasil, Imbassai Beach 2008
Image by Zena Edwards©

Monday, 18 July 2011

In A Walthamstow Old Peoples Home

They show up out of the blue
Fuzzy edged figures shaped like memories
bright brown circles rimmed with the pale blue yesteryears
of curdled dreams, clouded in 1950’s sepia dementia, so 
you asked the same question, “Wat your name again?”
In amongst the others you sit
a young old  man, Nevis citizen, England bound
a tailor’s profession proudly tucked under your arm
like a broadsheet - important, like folded wings –
a new life under the protection of a Motherland beckoning
fledgling, sure of the uncertainty
of migrating, certain of your manhood
Some time settling.
Enough to sever ties
enough to know when you’ve been lied to
Then something rustling.
a reminder, a soft alarm
like the syrupy resonance of a familiar calling,
a hunger, a wondering - “Back ‘Ome”.
Back then
never knew
how you were gonna get back home
just held a spirit
that wanted forward
In amongst the others
the other fragile catacombs
whose chairs are positioned to face a TV
who sit  so still so not to disturb the dust
you see them, familiar strangers who smile as they approach you
- your daughter and her child, they say.​
You talk and they listen
and you know you forget things but they don’t seem to mind
besides they feel warm and want to know you
they feel like home
and every time they make farewells, you tell the girl child,
“Look after your muddah” and that you thank them for coming
cos you’re not long for this world, you’re waiting,
“Waitin’ on di Lawd.
Waitin’ on di Lawd to call me.
To call me to com Back ‘Ome”.

Written by Zena Edwards

Sunday, 10 July 2011

CHERIE - in her own words

Cherie is a character from Travelling Light, the new one woman show and she is anxious. She learns her anxiousness is so closely linked to her growing up in a deprived area of Birmingham, where women not much is expected of 'girls', said most times with a loaded sense of disregard when they have dreams.  She comes down to London aged 18 and falls into a similar crowd the one she left behind in Brum, a crowd where Sex is currency, and a "relationship" or "friendship" with benefits, is just something you did to pass the time.

Her new sense of womanhood only comes to light after an extremely traumatic 3 years, where she runs away from an abusive marriage, with Amy her 2 year old, and finds new love that she is not sure will come to full fruition if she cannot get healed from some of the damage done to her in her previous marriage.

Cherie - Dear Diary 12th March 2008

Cherie - Dear Diary 27th April 2008

written by Zena Edwards 2011©

Monday, 27 June 2011


The trials for Black women though, is  weighted in our historical confidence in our colour,  as well as  to our physical attributes and  "failings". Our beauty is tied up in a hierarchy of concepts that start with how we value our African features at the foundation.

Grooming takes time and copious amounts of money but before we go spend hard earned cash at the hairdressers, first, we must stop falling into that evil corrosive  trap set for us (and unfortunately maintained by us). The trap rooted in a colonial concept of divide and conquer. We must stop resorting to knee jerk reactions about good hair or bad hair when really, its not about the hair, its about perception and self-belief.  
Fundamentally, I think Black women playing with their hair is part of our survival tool kit as much as an innate inclination to adorn. Any judgments made, is the person who doing the judging's business, not yours. Let them get on with it.
Know thy “SELF" and DO YOUR THANG
Listen to BBC commissioned docu-poem by Zena Edwards

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Gaza – there but for the grace of God

I said i didn't need to see it
didn't need to watch the news or read the paper
knowing it was happening was enough

just read me the headlines, I'll make up the rest
My mum always used to say it,
"there but for the grace of God."

dryness in my mouth like gravel
no spit even for a course comfort bread
these tears in my heart, prick needles in my eyes
chained to the creases in my palm
a painful paradox of feeling
i give thanks i am here, not there
to witness the howl, the who, the age
6 years and no longer counting birthdays, broken
under a cloth of muslin
Muslim, dark skin, broken

i don't need to see the blood or the contortion of faces
people i have known through newsflashes
and stumbling dashes across bullet ridden roads
shot to hell

i don't need to see the violently pitted walls of makeshift sanctuaries
while the earth shakes to the growl of tanks
or shocks of mocking friendly missile impacts

A Sunday afternoon turns sage as I turn the broadsheet page
i stumble across photos and sound-bites about civilian insurgents
their fury written on stones  thrown
or rather they stumble across me and i turn away too late

too late it’s inside
too late i cannot hide
can only make my day feel better by writing a poem
to acknowledge those who live the nightmare
and apologise that i am scared

Written Zena Edwards

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


I'm in perhaps the best veggie buffet in North London, chapel market - the popular Indian Veg Bhelpoori House  - Chapel Market N1. I'm really hungry because  all day I had been working with no breakfast or lunch. Its 6.30ish, so i come here,  my regular north London oasis of healthy food.
Two girls walk in. They're tall, fashionable, young, fresh faced and skeletal. Now I don't mean skinny. I mean bones in Top Shop attire. It was almost like they weren't there. Only they were.  They were like whispers, like unanticipated breezes on your neck in a still place.
I'm just finishing eating paneer and green pea curry, mixed veg curry, parathas, a couple of bahji's and salad.  I went back for seconds. My plate is waxed.  I sip my spiced masala tea, fiddle about on facebook on my phone for about 10 minutes relishing the full bellied afterglow of all-u-can-eat.

Meanwhile, the wraith-like girls have been up to the buffet bar to get food and I try not to stare because I began to feel empathetic pangs of hunger, light headed, a little nauseous. This look could not be right. Bones strained through their skinny jeans and tight cropped tops. This look was manufactured.
The pre-domninant thought that came to mind is 'anorexia'. But they're in an all you can eat buffet?! They get seconds, chit chat and giggle quietly, like every other girl should  and I get over it.
Its when  I go to the ladies toilet that I see the remnant trails of vomit over the seat of one of the toilets....

"Its kinda hard to pee now." I thought. I did the math and anorexic bulimia flitted about in my head like a fat annoying slow flying blue bottle.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


... and he puts his hands all over her..
And he puts his hands all over her sketched and written by Zena Edwards

there are days when being a woman is tide up
in the weight of her 'knowledge' of the 'way it is'
The status quo must be kept
so keep you body right and you mouth in check
be ready to be the object I select
from this day until the next
don't complain

Her man is poisoned against her
Just because he walks down the high road
without the blinkers
and she, bombarded with kilos and pounds
of sweet and salt constraints dressed up as
good-for-your-love-life home remedies
when the visual complexities wind their way though
her subtleties and feast on her insecurity

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Rwanda. Rebirth

april morning
clean emerald scent suffused
with a food-like musk
earth aroma on a breeze ​innocent
as a pre-pubescent girl
mountains dusted
with the breath of light gossamer
pours: the heat of the day
a branding iron
a sting of irredeemable shame
and clarity wavers
thwa! Thwa!! THWA!!!
panga and machete fall
for the longest three months
a scratchy voice, unbridled, riding radio waves
revenge: a dutiful slave of deception
and the inane letting of blood
as method of tribal sanitation
the belly of the land is fertile and rotten
every mass grave, an incubator
prematurely the earth is ripened with death
sisters, nephews, wives
mothers, sons, fathers,
daughters, aunts, uncles,
friends, lovers
the earth clutches them to her breast
embraced in Her soil​
the dance of the dead
sent syncopated ripples over the Keraga river
it flows silver and blood
each river that has flowed as such
unique to life itself, a new vein
in the earth’s placenta
Rwanda. Rebirth.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Stand off

Break my fingers if I am to care
A piano player doesn’t fear piercing stares
I tell you, it is just one life
carrying hornets in your mouth
Cornerstones and cacti pave this course
Gardened by expectant frivolity
Gathered at its edges
By determined fingers

Friday, 1 April 2011


the bridge of your brow
the ridge of your nose
the arch of your lip
the hill of your chin
the paths my eyes love to run along
backwards and forwards, up and down
a child at tireless play
falling flat on my back with giggles in my belly
rolling onto my side  looking at them all again
jumping off the bridge of brow
freefalling off the ridge of your nose
sitting like a smiling baby Buddah under the arch of you lip
rolling pin down the hill of you nose
flopping down onto your chest
run rugged and breathless
laughing doing it all again

Saturday, 19 March 2011

When the leaves have fallen
And the trees are asleep
When the snow reflects
The sun
And the Winter Moon keeps
The city illuminated and iridescent in her pearly gaze
I’ll treasure the sight of your breath
Escaping you lips
A delicate mist
And forever repeat the words that you uttered
Those silent dandelion puffs on the breeze of my memory
When the stars are extinguished
And the horizon is no more
My love for you will remain unpolished

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

As Property Protests - A Poem to the Voice of Shifting Unrest

 image by A.Rafaele Ciriello
They thrashed her within an inch of her life
Told her it would make her a wise woman, a better wife
For this Life was never about her skin that bled woman in the dust
She’d have to wait for the next

There were no floodgates; no bastion could hold her tongue
It sat ripe, ripe for bursting
Marinating in the velvet, thorny seat of her will

Fatima had to snare her trembling agitation
With prayers and bitten lips
She herself, had to hobble her insurgent instinct to express at the knees
Forcing her Self to kneel at every clock tick,
In every sunbeam
And every crack of light she could find

Monday, 21 February 2011


Giovanni. My Familiar -  Born Spring 1993. Died August 29th 2010
1. because independence is written in the skies of their eyes   

2. because switching when you don’t want to be touched there 
makes sense. A paw swipe with claws in is a warning. 
Don’t complain the next time when they’re out.

3. because it’s the tail that gives it away. 
Attention must be paid to your own subtitles.

His own paw print. His own identity.
4. to remind them to enchant themselves 
with their own intelligence.

5. because they are beautiful creatures - 
long haired or short, sleek or stumpy, 
tabby or ginger, pure bred or mixed.

6. to remind them that catching rats and 
bringing them home is generally a bad idea

Thursday, 27 January 2011

What Eve said to Adam...

...hmmm.... yeah.... right....???
i'll take it from here then, shall i?

Drawing by Zena Edwards Dec 2010©

Friday, 14 January 2011

IF DADDY - A Poem for my Absent Father

Little girls need their Daddies too...

All too often we hear about young boys, particularly ones of African descent,  not having father figures and going off the rails.  We hear about them either ending up as fodder for jail, aimless wanderers with no idea how to behave as men and/or winding up being absent fathers themselves, with no sense of responsibility. Well guess what, sometimes those fatherless men end  up with fatherless daughters because these women  have no idea what it means to have an  entity around the house being a father or a man either. 
If there are no other male role models in their lives - friends, uncles  and such - then the journey to knowing what a 'Man' looks like is distressing.
Men are NOT the same as women purely because of that macho patriarchal socialization, programming and training of what a man is supposed to be.  Posturing Rap stars, magazines like FHM and bolshie arrogant banking city and media types have a lot to answer for.  But even then I think that idea is a confused misnomer. Who knows what manhood looks like these days when men can buy calf, bicep and pec implants, have as many cosmetic products as women  and expect women to pay their way out of spite for all the years they had to. Ok, maybe I'm being harsh there.
What I think is important though, is that there is a human responsibility to the nurturing of the future generations. Boy AND Girl children need good female and male ideals around them. Not perfect cos maybe that's too much to ask sometimes but they need people around them who are seen to  at least be trying to do the right thing. Kids are smart. They can tell the difference when someone cares or not.
Little girls need to feel the vibration of a man's voice that loves them. Then they will know the sound of Love. They need to feel the embrace of a man that respects them. Then they will know the touch of Respect and Love. They need to see the silhouette of a man wishing them sweet dreams.  Then they will know the shape of support for their dreams when they see it, the touch of respect when they feel it and the sound of Love when they hear it. No woman should suffer any form of abuse at the end of the fist or tongue of a man. It is unnecessary let alone wrong.
This poem is the for the father I have never known but who I love still for his absence. Part of my journey to finding out the true meaning of Womanhood has been through an unpredictable  and rocky path to understanding Manhood.
Click, listen, read, immerse, enjoy. Peace. Z

If  Daddy

daddy's gone 
            daddy's gone 
                   daddy's gone 
daddy's gone away
yes daddy's gone to stay gone

Was my existence braided on purpose
in to the journey of your mission bound spermatozoa?
where were they headed for real though?
meant for the long dark red of  my mothers fallopian tube?
to her open womb?

where i unfurled into this life
 a full thing with no name from my fathers side
just a black strike on my birth certificate
my fathers namelessness comes to me in dreams
or in the films of other peoples daddy’s

I’d turn my face ashamed of my dad
yes blindly ashamed and  blissfully proud
I’d be comforted, reassured and strong with my daddy
as he carried my 3 foot high body, my head resting on his shoulder
while he strided like palm trees sway

but I'd also be angry and hateful toward my daddy,
grateful toward my daddy, cuss him out in my pillow,
wish he were dead and call him by his first name for a week,
my jaw stubborn as the karma of my life without him

I’d be dutiful daughter and kiss him sweet on the cheek at bedtime
I’d want to smack my own dad in the mouth
disobey his rules / come back 43 minutes after curfew and not apologise
I’d be his sugar dumpling, loyal and smiling,

I’d be full of love  then  I’d curse in front of him  and back chat,
wear make up at thirteen and never bring my boyfriends home to meet him

I’d do all these things and more
just to test to my daddy
fling my arms around his neck and see if he’d forgive me
 just  to make sure,
I’d put my dad through hell
I’d do all these things and more
just to make sure

but where does the fire from all these impetuous tempestuous feelings go
in the of decades space, shoulder deep into an army back pack
smelling of johnny cakes mum made on Sundays and gunpowder
from the war that took him when i  was three weeks old.

my daddy was an army man with black cat claws
and couple of other women’s draws, notched on his rifle butt,
but he loved me enough to write a letter or two....
to do the right thing by his baby mama 

daddy should know his girls feet are strong
her shoulders are broad
that refined things don't pass by her ears and eyes unnoticed
no one can talk to her as if she’s
a fool

Daddy. Dad. Daddy.
How does that word sit on my lips?
a cluster of D’s exploding from my tongue
vibrating the air around me like an ectoplasmic echo

But I ain’t mad, just lonely
to know know what saying “Daddy” would be like
and a voice with bass in it
that recognised mine like keys in locks 
would call back
opening doors to safe and sound security
a full night sleep with my Super Dad snoring loudly down the hall
I ain’t mad

daddy’s gone away
yes daddy's gone to stay

Written by Zena Edwards 2008©