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Like Father Like Son

Like Father Like Son

A Poem by Tionge Rosalie Johnson

This was inspired by an incident at the beach between a father and a son. I wrote from the perspective of the son. It's more of a spoken word piece, but I thought I would post it on here as well :).


The sea.

It’s so big and intimidating like you.

The waves crash, not suddenly, but softly.

Increasing, almost unpredictably.

I’m swallowing hard and holding me close,

I wanna be like my brother but,

He has much more than I can ever be for you.

Look at him...

Look at him, dad.

That is a man.

The man that I am not.

The man that I will never be.

I can’t be that man….because

I am scared to be that man.


The fish.

yes dad the fish,

that’s why I can’t go into the water.

I’m sorry…

I wish I could say I’m sorry,

but men don’t apologize.

I hope you can see that I am trying

to be that man so…

I won’t apologize.

I’m not a sissy

I am not…


Even though I so wanted to be her for Halloween.

No, I will one day be Prince Eric,

Sweeping down to save Ariel,

He was not afraid of anything.



No, I feel those waves though,

your touch,

Dragging me away like the tide


I can feel your grip casting me out.

Prince Eric where are you in my time of need!

I am not Ariel.

Whose legs would not budge when it hit the sand.

Those legs, trembling to the sensation of the harsh cold air

and her skin shriveled and pruny.

Not soft, 

you know the,

soft sensation of your skin when you

first wake up in the morning or

after mom gave me a bath, cleaning off all the mud 

from my brother pushing me into that pit.

Yet you cast me out into the sand,

which will only strip my skin of the softness

you so sorely hate.


Yes, dad

I am afraid of the fish.

I am not Prince Eric

And I am not like you.

I am not like him either.

I am me,

but who is me?

I try to learn from you but...

I am not like you.



© 2016 Tionge Rosalie Johnson

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Added on July 6, 2014
Last Updated on June 28, 2016
Tags: poetry, LGBT, spoken word


Tionge Rosalie Johnson
Tionge Rosalie Johnson

Syracuse , NY

I'm a graduate student at the S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications studying Arts Journalism where I am specializing in theatre. I have a great passion for writing and editing written work and .. more..