(boy) excerpt and spoken word by thomas iannucci


Excerpt from “boy, a love letter” published in
Bamboo Ridge Issue #124 and a separate, spoken word poem set to music from the POV of “the man” [boy’s father].

The following works explore difficult subject matter with mentions of drug and alcohol use, and domestic violence. 

“ehhhhhh boy!” said the man, slapping the arm of his recliner so hard it shook the tiny lamp on the stand next to him. “i was starting to worry you forgot wea you lived! wat, late night study sesh?”

“o, yeah,” said the boy, his heart pounding in his chest. his
faddah knew, guarantee. he felt sick, from more than just the beer and weed. though being real that wasn’t helping either. “lost track of time. sorry.”

“‘a‘ole pilikia my braddah, studying is important. mo bettah you
study den you off partying and da kine, right?” the man waved him away.

“right, yeah,” said the boy, and for a brief moment his cloudy
mind allowed him to hope that maybe, just maybe, his dad was just very, very drunk. wouldn’t be the first time. “eh well, i goin go sleep now, i pretty tired—”

the boy’s faddah was off the chair and across the room in an
instant. it seemed a blur to the boy, stoned and buss—definitely buss, there was no denying it, his head was spinning—as he was. he blinked and the man was in front of him, opened his mouth to gasp but couldn’t on account of his faddah’s giant hand grabbing him by the throat—and his lower jaw too, he really did have big hands—and pinning him against the wall.

“o wat, you tired, ah?” the man wasn’t smiling anymore. his face was hard to see in the dim yellow lamplight that was the only disruption of the darkness in the house, but the boy had enough previous experience to guess what it looked like. barely concealed fury, was his guess. “well guess what, youngblood, i ste tired too. tired of your crap! in fact, i’m exhausted.” the hand squeezed tighter and tighter, and the boy was distracted by the fact that he was being choked only by the pain he felt in his jaw as the man’s bear paw of a hand dug into it.

“hoi babe, what da hell you doin? its tree a.m.” the voice of the
boy’s stepmother—well, not legally, but what else was he supposed to call his father’s girlfriend—aunty maybe but it hurt her feelings, she never said anything but the boy knew so he never called her aunty anymore but even though she was nice he just couldn’t bring himself to call her mom so really he just tried his best not to call her anything at all—so anyway her voice coincided with the flipping of a switch, and the dark room burst into light. the man let go, and the boy slumped back against the wall, coughing and sputtering. “we both gotta work in da morning.”

“sorry ah babe,” said the man. “but i finally bin bust this buggah. try look his eyes. look!” he reached over and yanked the boy back up. “how’s dis guy! buggah is all bline. i no even believe! and he had try fo tell me he was just sleepy from too much studying. ha!”

“no eva lie to me, boy! who you tink you ah? lying to yo own
faddah lidat. i should broke yo ass right now.” the boy’s head banged against the wall and he winced but stayed silent. because he knew better.

“babe, nuff already.” his wife/girlfriend/whatever pulled the man away, and the boy once again deflated against the wall. “c’mon, just stop it.”

“i not da one who gotta stop,” said the man, shaking her off him, not violently, no, but definitely firmly. “braddahman here is on a bad path. he know i no like him out late to begin wit, let alone partying.”

“you dunno for sure if he had—” the woman began, but the man cut her off.

“brah come on! i can smell da crip from here! and try look his
eyes, i’m telling you dis faka is all buss and all bline and even if he neva go party it’s da same damn ting!”

the boy, who was in fact all buss and all bline and now in pain
and therefore angry and therefore brave because he was as previously mentioned all buss and all bline, stood up and looked his faddah in da eyes.

Read the full story in Bamboo Ridge Journal of Hawaiʻi Literature and Arts Issue #124 (pg. 99-106).

in faddah’s voice…

thomas iannucci is a writer and 2x Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winning rapper. “boy, a love letter” is his first story in Bamboo Ridge. For more of his work, find him on Instagram and TikTok @thomasiannucci and Twitter @thomasiannucci_ 

Talk story

  1. Doodie says:

    Brah, your written words punched and kicked my soul, shaking loose old buried memories, the audio gave me fricken PTSD. Before reality tv, this was my reality, almost every night, especially on the weekends in Palolo Housing. Well done Brother, well done!

Leave one comment for (boy) excerpt and spoken word by thomas iannucci

This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to its use of cookies.