The Crude Rude Rooster, a poem

"Male azeels or the south indian fighter cocks sometimes fight until one dies..Fighting is definitely in thier genes."

“Male azeels or the south indian fighter cocks sometimes fight until one dies.”

The family patriarch was a big man
a big crude red-faced rooster of a man
with cock’s comb of jet that wilted
in the golden glow of an honest sun
He wrapped fear around himself in the way
of a frail old woman with her shawl
His boom and blather made the girl shiver
like the surface of a pond brushed by a dark wind
In a greedy closet big enough to live in
he gathered his indulgences and ego props
He grew fat and aggressive on flesh foods and alcohol
He drove a big car and parking it
made sure to intrude on his neighbor’s grace
He thought himself a “man’s man” and
kept the women in their places, as defined by him
He whipped the elder son into nervous abandon,
trying to craft him into a clone and a validation
To keep the upper hand, he pitted his boys against each other,
drove the wedge of his insecurities between his sons and their wives

In his service business, women were “broads,”
And there were codes for the others –
Seven was for “Spik”
Six was for “Nigger”
Five was for “Sand-Nigger,”  like the girl, or so he thought

Time passes, people decline, and the rooster lost his peck
His wife grew brittle and came to rule the roost and the rooster –

a “broad” ran credibly to be her country’s president
a “seven” is an astronaut, a “six” is a U.S. President,
a “five” is a governor; she never dreamed she’d see the day

As for the crude rude rooster –
He just did what most of us mostly do
He gave what he was taught …

What his father taught him
What his father taught him
What his father taught him

When Obama was inaugurated I was overjoyed and The Crude Rude Rooster was by way of putting the past behind me. I’ve published it now as a reminder of how things used to be and as an admonition not to get complacent or adjust to a “new normal” in the face of vulgarity, bigotry, xenophobia and misogyny. In our family, my father-in-law wasn’t alone in his culpability. As soon as my mother found out about the engagement, she called and insulted him saying – among other things – that she didn’t want me to marry someone of his ethnicity, categorizing his entire group as hoodlums and drunks. I was never forgiven for that phone call. And that’s how it goes. What played out in family was just a reflection of the greater society in which we were ensconced. Please resist. If we can find it in our hearts to resist the ideology but embrace the people, it would be a good thing.There’s no dignity or redemption in hate or in any brand of elitism. Let’s break the cycle. Family histories and social histories show us that ultimately we become trapped and victimized by our own fears.

© 2016, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photo courtesy of Felix Francis under CC BY-SA 2.0

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