My son
Where did I go wrong
What song didn’t I sing of love
What gift didn’t I give from the heart
What birthday did I miss
What event didn’t I attend

Was I negligent in child support
Was I too hard on you
Did I tempt you to wrath
Did I leave your mom when she told me she was pregnant

Did I fail to teach you before you were a slave you were from a land of brilliance
That you are from a people of resilience
That the Cushite in your blood runs a lineage of saviors, chiefs, and leaders

Did I trust the public schools to educate you and forget to feed you on my own
Was I gone to long and by the time I came back you were to far gone

Did I work too much and forget you
Spend too many hours working
Saying it was for you but absent
Using money to quench not being present

Or perhaps I was locked up
Hoping you wouldn’t follow my path
But how could I expect that with no guide
No one to lead you on the path righteousness
Maybe I taught you that manhood started with a gun and respect came with a bullet
And your gang was your real family
But they never provided you shelter
They never feed you
If you were locked up they don’t bail you out
When you die they don’t pay for your funeral
And that they would take from you far more than you could ever get in return

And when you get to prison
They would welcome you
Into a cell, strip you down
Bend you over and strip you of dignity
Because in the streets they called you a punk if you didn’t pull the trigger
And in prison they make you a punk

Did you watch me call your mom a B
Beat her with my fist
Told you never let a woman disrespect you
And that’s how you win their love

And to get what you needed
You had to kill your brother
For a block you don’t own
A city you don’t run
And before you got street cred
A camera caught you
Holding a weapon
Running from the scene
Because you watched your brothers fall
At your hands and had no remorse

My son, I should have done better
Now the system will catch you
It will educate you, it will inform you
It will teach you everything I didn’t

I’m sorry.
The Endurer