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  • Katie Frieheit

Patriarch, My Love

Patriarchy climbs all over me.

The shadow of fathers and brothers before me.

My blood line blended with its toxic allure.

It pumps to red cheeks and demands my apology;

Shames me into my corner.


I hate that I could love the patriarchs around me.

That I would drop to raw knees and kiss stone feet.

Roll up my sleeves and clean up my men.

They build you up in odd ways,

And make you feel like you could be more.

My house of mirrors.


Some have loved me in a tender way,

Allowed me my voice,

Modelled humility,

And smothered me in unconditional, ungendered love.

This is true “patriarchy” to me.


Social constructs have made me bitter

And resentful.

Full of spite and malice.

How dare you speak down to me,

How dare you sound out my name.

It does not belong in your mouth.

I do not belong to calloused hands and your hurt boyhood.


Who teaches these men?

Complacent wives or dutiful daughters?

Abusive fathers or sneering brothers?

They work diligently to maintain the very constructs that harden warm hearts.

Breadwinner, strong, fearless, stoic.

These are the characteristics that breed domineering, sadistic men

Who only wish to belittle women

And hurt themselves daily.


Work harder.

Be stronger.

Don’t cry.


They bruise the tender fruit of family trees,

And gouge into bark.

These trees bleed out

A poison sap.

Gone bad with patriarchy and distorted faith.


These are the sick men

Who form daughters, brothers,

Wives and husbands.


We cannot continue to cover bruises left by patriarchy.

But vulnerability,

Is no soft skill.


It is heavy and requires work.

But to remove the bitter bark of patriarchy,

We need to see raw flesh,

And form an exterior anew.


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