To the indigenous women, I’m sorry we have not fought harder for you.
I am the dysfunctional man, I know a women’s place better than I know my own.
And now here I am holding her neck between my hands like she holds my heart between hers
Pleading to borrow your forgiveness like I always have and for you to be there for me like you always are
Ask and she will tell you, I stole her tongue, replaced it with guilt, saddled it with blame and rode off on it like a horse
Choose your words like chess pieces, burn your hopes like cedar, pull that smoke over you like a blanket, put a cigarette out on you because I can
Pray that someone hears you.
Clutch it, pretend it’s still there. Even after it’s gone.
This path of least resistance the intersection of law and people
To doctors without clues, for say nothing neighbours, do nothing attorneys, and quiet parents with no memories – thank you.
You make all of this possible
We couldn’t fail these women without your help.
To the daughter who found a man as abusive as her father
To the restraining order as strong as the paper it’s made from
And to the shelter with not enough beds
I give one thousand sweats for victims
One thousand doctoring’s for husbands
One thousand prayer ties for courage
One thousand meetings for silence
One thousand songs for patients and one thousand fires
For enough light to fill a room
To reflect off a mirror the size of a moon just so we can see ourselves for what we are:
How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream. Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all? Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying, our mothers? Or divorcing, or not divorcing, our mothers? And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing, or leaning? For shutting doors or speaking through walls? For never speaking, or never being silent? Do we forgive our fathers in our age, or in theirs? Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it. If we forgive our fathers, what is left?
You know there are some children who aren’t really children at all, they’re just pillars of flame that burn everything they touch. And there are some children who are just pillars of ash, that fall apart when you touch them… Victor and me, we were children of flame and ash.
"Sonny and my father always said that when I get older I would understand. Well, I finally did. I learned something from these two men.
I learned to give love and get love unconditionally. You just have to accept people for what they are, and I learned the greatest gift of all. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever. But you can ask anybody from my neighborhood, and they’ll just tell you this is just another Bronx tale.”