Papa Was a Rolling Stone

P apa is rolling stone
Piece of sediment covered with

my mother’s tears

Praise its speed
Praise its swiftness
Praise the mineral that was never concrete
A tribal stone that rolled its way from Africa
and cotton field
the stone that broke too many

Rolling stone
This decision to keep it and not throw it away
This Family Heirloom
This Weapon if not kept inside of the house
Because a little black boy might pick it up
throw it at another boy out of anger

black boy who be angry
who stomped on the ground
when he saw his father leave the first time
father who be foreign object
Moving back into my neighborhood after twelve years
Still hasn’t mumbled an apology
Wanted me to visit him
This broken child
asking his mother for her last dollars to go on the train
putting on the same worn out clothes
that smelt of cheap and neglect
To see a man
who didn’t care if I was dead or alive

brick wall of false promises
This brick wall to a child’s tears and suffering
This brick wall that don’t think I see the cracks in it
This excuse for a man
whose son learned from his dad
that nothing lasts too long

I heard he got a new girlfriend
started spending all of his money on her
So when I found out he was getting abused
by the same woman who was spending my child support money
I stomped on the asphalt in praise dance

My father came to a family barbecue last summer
Looked into my eyes
Wanted me to give him a dap
like nothing ever happened
Didn’t like it
when I refused to applaud his bad parenting

son who laughed when his father said he was gonna give me money for college
Like I wanted his chump change
This son who laughed when family said that’s the only father he got
Because he know daddy gonna try to mooch off him when he become successful

This son
who now know that he is Ruby
Or Sapphire
Or any other precious gem created from the pressures of this Earth
This son
who laughed when family defends the father
Like this man didn’t cause all of the pain
And heartache in three different broken homes

He just dead
soil to me
Crumbling sediments trying to revert back into dust
I am a son
who is not afraid of seeing his father under a tombstone
because I wanna see my dad solid for a change
I want him to be rooted six feet under with all of his karma

By James Fisher

James Fisher is Associate Editor at Abernathy. He is also a student at the University of Pennsylvania and a human rights + social justice advocate who uses his day-to-day interactions to influence his work.