Head Voice Father My My

Head Voice Father My My

for James - RIP


She does look like me

Long tall drink of water

Legs and fingers that seem to never end

I didn’t know what to expect

Pacing Grip’s porch

At 9 p.m.

Puffing my fifth cigarette in

20 minutes.

They were four hours late,

And I thought

Maybe they changed

Their mind.

Maybe they weren’t coming.

Maybe it was a joke that ole Grip

Played on me,

And it would be something she’d do

Cause you know she never took to me

Dating her best friend

And I guess I can understand that.



But then the car pulled up,

And they got out;

My ex wife



But still just as beautiful

As the last day I saw her.

This time

There were no tears

To mar her face.


And then out stepped

A vision of me

With all that mess of hair

And curt motions.

My child.

Youngest of seven.

Last I saw her

She was four

And talking up a storm.

“Read me cindegrella


Read me cindegrella


As she’d pull the orange ET doll

I gave her tight

And look at me with

Broken guitar string eyes.

Her eyes

Just the same


23 years later

And they locked on me

And made me feel

All those years of running

And lord,

I am tired.


Took her to the park the next day

To talk.

Stopped to get me a beer on the way

At Sam’s little corner store.

I asked her if she thought I was an alcoholic

She said no.

She lied.


Full of spit and fire,

And those eyes

Never left me as she asked me

Everything under the hot Mississippi sun:

Why did I leave them


Did I miss them


How many children do I have


Where do my people come from

And what was it like dating a white woman in the 70s…

I tried to give her answers

It was the least she deserved

And the most I could give.


She showed me all the things she’d done

Movies and books and songs and poems and stuff like that

And I was so proud of this daughter

This stranger

Standing in front of me.

I wanted to stay longer

but the longer I stayed

The harder it was to leave.


I felt the years pressing down on me

And I didn’t want

To cry in front of my baby

Not yet



I sat down

When I got back to this one room

I call all mine

pulled out my guitar

And played a song

I wrote for her

When she was seven

And far away from me.

She’s never heard it.


I wonder

If she’s ever gonna

Put me

In a poem?