Monthly Archives: December 2022

Daughters [Spoken Word]

Years ago, I remember reading poems themed around “If I should have a daughter.” This is my “Now that I have a daughter” poem – lessons and reflections from a father of two amazing Kaurs.

Just because he has the loudest voice in the room
Doesn’t mean he’s right

Confidence and arrogance is no substitute for intelligence
So know your shit, look’em dead in the eye
Speak with confidence and hold your head high
They may not like you
But you’ll have their respect
Running circles around them with your intellect

That’s the daughter we raised
Faith, Education, and Self-reflection

Your faith, your discipline is not just for show
It’s to internalize, better yourself, and grow

Your faith in the Divine
Should always be your north star
Keeping you grounded, knowing exactly who you are


Yeah, we push you to hit the books and get good grades
But it’s not just about honor rolls and getting straight As

See your education is not merely for building wealth
It’s a tool to live a life that’s bigger than yourself

So when systems are unfair, unjust and corrupt
Then dismantle those systems and lift people up

And when you finally reach that board room on the top floor
Send the elevator back down and tell them to make room for more

As as a young woman of color, it’s not just about you
It’s about paving a way for others to come through
So find that sisterhood to elevate you and make sure give back
Let’em know the color of queens come in brown and black

In what lies before you the challenges will be tall
The powers that be trying to make you feel small
But believe in yourself and project you voice
Let them know interrupting you will be the wrong choice

So put in the work and let God do the rest
But don’t ever go out there, without giving them your best

You may think I am asking a lot of you, the expectations are high
And you’d be right
And why not?
Look at where you come from?

You’ve been given blessings through generations in layers
Your mere existence is the answer to your ancestors prayers

The women of your family have given you your powers
So live your life with purpose, so you can give them their flowers

Yes, we have high expectations for you

But saying all this gives me pause.
Because as your father, I realize that I have to play a role in this too
How can I expect you to defend your ideas if I’m the one dismissing them?
How are you supposed to elevate your voice if I’m the one interrupting you?
For me to model the right behaviors I need to unlearn and unravel my own conditioning
It’s something I will try and fail it, but will improve on day to by day
Because after all…we are in this together

I know your potential is limitless

Take time every day for self-reflection
To align with the Flow, heading a divine direction

I know one day you’ll have the world’s attention
And I’ll just sit back and watch your ascension

So pursue your goals and aim for perfection
Succeed or fail you’ll have our love and affection

And when the world is too much and you fall off the track
Know your Mom and I will always have your back

Know’s there’s nothing you can’t accomplish
Nothing you can’t do
Just believe in yourself, like we believe in you

Look Like An American [Spoken Word]

Years ago while at a restaurant with my wife, an elderly couple next to us overheard us talking. After some time, the man leaned over to me and whispered, “When are you going to start looking like an American?” Without much thought I immediately responded, “What does an American look like?” This poem is a reflection of the exchange that day.

When are you going to start looking like an American?

Look like an American?
Tell me what I’m supposed to do?
Do I need to cut myself and prove to you that I bleed red, white, and blue?
Is there something I need to prove, a test to put me through?
You gonna quiz me on who won the world series of 1962?

Tell me what does an American look like…to you?

Of all the things an American can be
What makes you think an American can’t look like me?

You can’t fathom this accent-less voice matching my look?
Perhaps you should put down your guns and pick up a book

Learn about the world, and where you fit in it all
Rather than acting like some kind of authority, making me feel small

Tell me what does an American look like?
Does he look like the indigenous man who quietly fills you with guilt?
Or the does he look like the enslaved, upon whose back this all was built?

Tell me what does an American look like?

Now you’ve got me fired me up, writing these rhymes
With you ignorant ass and racist paradigms

Just say you what you mean, put in plain sight
I do not look like an American
Because I am not white

You see
At my age
I’m no longer fazed by yells across the street “Hey Bin Laden”
The names and obscenities I get called just walking in the mall, minding my own
I just brush them off
But what hurts me to the core is that question…
“So…where are you from?”
And after I tell them, the inevitable follow-up feel like a gut punch
“No, where are you really from”

Your question, even with the best of intentions, tells me that I don’t belong here
That I am the other. A guest visiting your home

But let tell me you where I’m from

I am from a family of immigrants
And we are your doctors, nurses, lawyers, techies, shop keepers, cab drivers, artists, poets, teachers, truck drivers
And we are part of communities of black and brown who are the invisible wheels that keep this country moving even in the most challenging of times
Our stories have been written out of our country’s history, but the moral fabric of this nation has been sewn by us

This is my home, and I am here
And I’m not going anywhere, nor will I cower in fear

Despite my cynicism and criticism
I believe in the American dream
Not the one they show on TV
But realizing my full potential and lifting those up around me
It is near, it is real
But it requires us as a nation to truth-tell, repair, and heal.

That is the America I believe in, it’s the one that I see
It’s the home of the brave and the land of the free

So if you ever wonder who an American is supposed to be
Just look me in the eyes, cuz he looks just like me