Tree Carvings by Joshua Raul


The description of the To Be Heard Scholarship Slam asked the question of who I want my poetry to reach. The answer is simple, my daughter. This poem was written and performed at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe two days after I learned the sex of my child while she was stil in the woumb. Now 5 months old, she has influenced and changed me more than I could ever ask for, from motivatiing me to finally get a real job to now starting graduate school. So my answer is simple, when I write it is for my daughter - the youngest influence in my life.

Please find the performace video attached. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Tree Carvings

I feel like
My life
Has been hung on a carousel
And is spinning out of conscious existence

I graduated 8 months ago
And have had to to settle with
a job that I am
And, quite frankly
I've grown inpatient

I've had to change my phone number
To escape
The mental molestation
That these bill collectors
Have on my day-to-day happiness

Having more phone calls
From those
Who attempt to collect bills
Than make an attempt to chill

My will
Has run short

Today is the Sunday, August 18th
Year 2013
Meaning it has been exactly 2 days
Since I learned the sex my child
And it's a girl!

Meaning I will have a daughter to raise
Who will forever have an age
That is 25 years less than mine

And suddenly I feel fine
See ...

Her appearance
4 months ago
On a positive pregnancy test
Has given me hope
That I can turn this
out-of-control Ferris wheel
To where I feel
it deserves to be

Bc I have a daughter

A daughter who can
Protect our home with her supergirl pajamas
And protect her innocence
From the kryptonite
that comes with the Y chromosome

A daughter who will
know why her flag has the color red
And why King James ripped pages from the bible

A daughter who will know
Why her skin is darker
And her hair is more corse
And why stairs some with more force than her white counterparts

A daughter who will
Share my taste in music
And bare the taste of her mother's cooking
She'll even tell her it's delicious
just to be polite

It is every man's dream
To have a daughter to protect
Who walks
And even coughs like him
Who is everything I am
And more-so, everything I am not

Consider my offspring
My offering to the world
For all of my mistakes

All those that genuinely hate my being
Believe me - I understand

For everything I've done wrong
And never learned from
My plan
Is to plant my findings in my seed
And beed her into the person
that I could never be

This is my second chance to do things right
And I won't get it wrong this time

Just like the sun  brings light into a new day
My daughter will enlighten in a new way
One that I never could
But I've been given the chance
To become the carpenter
that sustains the wood
of my family tree.

And tho I've carved-in
And engraved the tree with the name Josh
I'm prepared to scratch that out
And replace it with the letters

And my daughter... you will soon branch out into a new world
From a tree deeply rooted in roots of truth
And fruits that drips juice
of passion and knowledge
I hope the apple keeps it's distance
And falls as far as possible
from the tree
It's not that I don't want you close
I just want you...
I just want you to be so much better than me

My daughter.


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