Tag Archives: parenthood

His Journey Home… Hurts

I used to hang out at the Starbux in Oak Park (now Old Soul Café), and there is a regular there–I don’t know her, but I see her all the time–whose son recently passed away. She is about my age, so I’m sure her son is pretty young. As a fellow parent, her pain engaged me and I terribly empathize with her… so much I hurt.


So, anyway, two nights ago, I dreamt I was in Starbux, and this lady was pregnant. She was sitting on the couch holding her stomach and crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she was saying that her stomach hurt–a lot. So I walked back to my table to call the ambulance, thinking she was in labor. 911 asks how far she was in her pregnancy, and I turned to ask her, and noticed that she was no longer pregnant. She was still holding her stomach and crying about how much it hurt.


I recognized what God was telling me, and I woke up right after (it was 4 a.m. btw) and wrote this poem….



Sitting in painful silence





Ovaries ache with undying misery

They accompanied his arrival

Now they send him home

Sailing across ripples of worlds

These momentary folds of time

With Oceanic voyages between them

Earthly vessels on loan from the Creator

She hears whispers from within—

“He is not mine, but Yours…”

—Her Lord offers comfort—

With waves of wet womanhood

She feels an echo in her womb

As if he were still here

Bound by umbilical connections

Like tin cans on a spiritual string

They met in this blissful dream:

Such a short life

Yet it forever stains her memory

His departure brings back enough labor pains

To last a lifetime

(It’s hard work giving God back

what’s rightfully His)

Her soul cries prayers

At the top of its lungs

Begs relief from this insatiable grief

As a tear evaporates back

To the clouds above

Sitting in painful silence,

But enveloped in the fragrant scent

Of the Greatest Love:

A mother’s.




“His Journey Home… Hurts”

© 2008

Mustafa Gatdula


Filed under Poetry

UNhappy Birthday

this is a poem i had in my backpack for a year, but i ran into a wall and could never finish it. then two things happened: my homeboy, who lost three children, was expecting another child, but the mother got an abortion against his wishes.

two days later i came across a song “happy birthday”, by flipside, about abortion (excellent song btw). just the inspiration i needed to cap off my piece, and gave me the perfect title! Flipsyde, you da man!


we exist among the living loved

the unwanted

the dead

ill-timed arrivals send souls

sentenced to join the unworthy

plummeting down the endless canals

of our otherwise welcoming walls we



brutal finales

fatal finishes of long-awaited

happy birthdays

never to arrive

maybe you, but not me

i am the side effect of love gone awry

or conceived too young

or unsure parentage

sucking away at shallow pockets

of lifestyles that beg to be maintained


you can see me in the empty seats

in kindergarten classrooms

laughter not heard

smiles not seen

tender touches never felt

only in the dreams of the mothers

and fathers

who regret

my death

wondering thoughts of what i

might have been


though it may appear my name is

“not yet”

am i a boy or girl?

only God knows

was i to be a momma’s boy

or daddy’s princess?

have her eyes

or his nose?

i am the gleam in a grandmother’s eye

or the shame of an unwed teen’s cries

found in toilet bloodclots

ultrasound blots

i loved you.

my small hands and

pre-formed fingers

too underdeveloped

to defend myself in this warm

watery womb-world

that fed me

nourished me

gave me a glimmer of future

for 8 whole weeks

i would have been

a good son

faint, distant screams drowned in

placenta violated by instruments


cries of

let me live

i would have been

a good son.

but my ill-fated,

ill-timed arrival gave the false reassurance

of a “later time”, yet

i won’t be back

and we exist in the

profane presence of selfish minds—

a memory

fresh from God’s own hand

clumps of miry clay

left behind to dry

never the apple of your eye

never got the chance to breathe

or smile

or crawl

or walk

or talk

or jump

or climb

or run

or pray

or grow

or laugh

or play

and me?

i never even had a name


and because of “free choice”

i never

got the chance

to be.

happy birthday, babies…





“unhappy birthday”

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Filed under Poetry