Where My Fatherhood Comes From [It Turned Into a Poem] - The Jose Vilson

Where My Fatherhood Comes From [It Turned Into a Poem]

by Jose Vilson on August 16, 2012

in Jose

My fatherhood is born of a desire to change
everything that happened before me. Or before me.
My fatherhood was born from not having a father figure present,
and constantly seeking them in the form of
priests, popular athletes, and men who only had time
for a yearly visit.
My fatherhood wasn’t prescribed,
for all the reading I did,
I knew I’d have to write this one out
on my own.
My fatherhood is an amalgamation of
everything that went wrong with
the abuse,
the isolation,
the fear 
tossed out the window
just to help me start over again.
My fatherhood hums where screams are appropriate,
drags where others bounced,
inhales where far too many coughed.
My fatherhood forgives
those who never taught it to me,
extinguishes the burn in my chest
where I once thought love went.
My fatherhood isn’t magic,
delivered divinely,
but something I continuously have to tend,
craft with my own hands and mind.
My fatherhood fills the shoes worn
very loosely
by no one in particular,
simultaneously well dressed and battle torn,
fully expecting to win.
My fatherhood only matters,
if the boy who receives it now
never has to feel as though he had to earn it.

Like I did.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

mrswp93 August 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Wow, Jose, this is amazingly beautiful! I think my favorite line, if I had to pick just one, is “My fatherhood hums where screams are appropriate.” The idea that parenthood is like a hive of activity or a slow, soft, song… I can read this either way. Any more comments I make are going to sound all English-teachery, so I will just say again, wow.


Jose August 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

Thank you so much. Appreciated.


Gretel August 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

Jose, thank you so much for sharing this. It makes me think of my husband, who is also an awesome dad. I love the line toward the end about the shoes.


Jose August 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Thank you all!


Karma August 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

Beautiful! Love the last line; It’s the definition of unconditional love, what being a parent is all about.


Spinster August 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm



JM Teacher August 18, 2012 at 11:23 am

Beautifully written and so honest! I find that as a grandmother, I’m still trying to “get it right”. For me, it’s about leaving the guilt behind and learning how to turn the regret into something positive. I live with the adage that it’s never to late to do the right thing. As a mother I was just so-so; but as a grandmother, I rock!


Jose August 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Grandmothers are always in the beautiful position of always being able to get it right with their grandchildren. Always. :-)


Theresa DeVore August 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm


As I read your beautiful poem, I try to imagine your voice actually reading it….it would be so much more powerful! Have you thought about a video? I think this would be powerful for people to hear especially those who feel the abandonment you did. I would love to share it with my 7th and 8th graders and have a discussion about it’s multiple themes, especially that everyone has the chance to change despite their past. Thanks for sharing such a private feeling.


Jose August 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm

In MP3? I’ll consider it. Or even as a YouTube vid.


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