Daddy’s Aphorisms: A Collaboration of Father and Son

1

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I had my gun under my pillow. I pulled it out and started shooting at the shadows, aiming at its head.

2

The shadows are the evil around me.

3

The young bucks always ask me, “Did you pray last night?”

I always say, “No. I can’t because I’m shooting at the shadows, aiming at their heads, knowing it’s the evil around me.”

4

The young bucks always ask me, “Why you live on the streets?”

And I always tell them, “You young niggas are walking around carrying guns, but you never been to jail, and yet y’all still think y’all ‘thuggin’?  But, y’all are robbing your own neighborhood corners, your own corners stores, y’all are robbin’ old folks! I stay on the streets to tell you young bucks that your gonna end up in a four-by-four box if you keep this up!”

5

I woke up this morning crying. I knew there was no one around to see me. No one but the shadows.

6

Is love real?

7

Or, is it something we want to believe in because society tells us it’s true? Emotions make us love, but why does breaking up you feel like a knife is in your heart, like you can’t breathe?

8

You are reaching for your heart, telling yourself this is love, but it feels like pain instead. You’re telling yourself thugs don’t cry. You’re taking your pride and moving on, saying to yourself you’ll never love again, moving to the next female hoping you’ll be more careful next time around. But, is this love?

9

Love is something like God.

10

I woke up this morning thinking I should pray, knowing that God never hears me anyway. So I put my tears away and move on.

11

I’m standing at the top of the block, looking back at the hood on Fourth and Broom Street. Six young niggas just shot another young nigga in the head. His mother is just standing there crying.

12

The cops are all over the place, but the shooters got away.

13

So when you say you love someone, is it really love? Or when someone says they love you, is it really love?

14

Do we love the woman’s flesh or the woman?

15

I know a woman that said she loved me. But my spirits now tells me different. So am I supposed to keep living a lie or live what my spirit tells me? I have always been a follower of my spirit. So for love, do we go against our spirit or follow our common sense?

16

I’m standing at the top of the block looking back at the hood. A young buck just robbed an old lady for 20 dollars. They then robbed the same corner store they grew up with.

17

I cried out to the Lord and it’s always the same. I never hear him, but the people keep telling me he hears me.

18

I’ve seen my friends passing away. My father, my brother, my cousins. I’ve seen everything I love passing away. I pray and I pray and still there’s no answer to my prayers, but they say, “Keep believing in God.”

19

In the beginning, I didn’t know how much I loved her. But, when I lost her it felt like my heart was ripped out and my mind wouldn’t let go.

20

No matter where we end up real love doesn’t die. I really love her because my love doesn’t die.

21

Love works only if both people love each other.

22

And I realize how much I love her.

23

I’m standing at the top of the block looking back at the hood. Fourth and Broom Street. Murders every day, drugs going crazy in the street, stickup kids all over the place, you get the same thing every day.

24

When you live in the jungle, even if you’re wounded, you can’t stop trying to survive.

25

I know the woman I love doesn’t understand me.

26

I love her until it hurts my soul.

27

I know she thinks I’m heartless. If only she can understand me.

28

It’s the streets that raised me. The love from a mother and a father never came my way.

29

I cried for days and nights. But the more time passed, I knew I was lost. It became a part of me. The pain grew in my soul. But, I also knew I had no choice but to move on.

30

I woke up this morning crying, but the world thinks I’m hard.

31

The tears don’t stop. The pain doesn’t go away. I just learn to keep it inside of me.

32

To the world, I am hard. When I step outside and they see me, I put on this face that says, ‘I am okay.’ But I know every day I walk with my mistakes because I live with this pain every day.

33

You know how much you love her when there’s no way back to her.

34

This is love.

35

You try to tell yourself you’ll be alright; but every day and every night all you do is think about her, wondering if she’s okay, wondering if she’s thinking about you, wondering whose loving her now.

36

I know I have to live with my mistakes and watch the woman I love go away. Even if my heart had stopped, she may still just walk.

37

I made so many mistakes. But I can say I’ll never love again.

38

I guess I became a man too late.

39

I know I became a man too late.

40

But, how is a man supposed to move on when his minds fucked up, his souls ripped up, and everyone’s just telling you to pray that God will forgive you?

41

How do you move on knowing that you’ll never have the woman you really love again in your life?

42

How do you move on?

43

One day you wake up and you realize you’re in too deep. Two years go by and you realize you’re in too deep and to get out you might have to kill a nigga. Either you get out or let them they take you out!

44

It’s like a game you have to play because you realize you’re in too deep. You see, they control you every move.

45

You’re forced to think to yourself, “I hope I don’t end up in a four-by-four box . . . Or worse end up dying by myself.”

46

It just hits you. The whole world thinks I’m defeated. You just laugh and start making plans.

47

My dreams have been destroyed. The woman I love is gone. My kids have moved on. My brother died. My father died. My mother wasn’t there for me. I cry out.

48

The night and the day pass. I get older. I get weaker. Still, I cry out.

49

So I wait and I wait. Until I learn to live with pain and to keep moving, never looking back to the past except to cry out.

50

I guess that love or the pain will drive you crazy.

51

I woke up this morning noticing that I cried for seven years. I prayed for seven years. I begged for forgiveness for seven years. I asked God to help me for seven years.

52

The number seven is supposed to mean something. Seven is the number He rested. So as the Bible teaches – I rest.

53

It is the pain that shapes you.

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