urban street corner
urban street corner
By the wet, leaping dance of lake waters,
we wrote our futures in the air.
Silence doesn’t show itself in a vacuum;
it must be fashioned and embraced.
We built and accepted this stillness,
siting before a peeled-paint, crimson porch,
a tree bowing over moss-hued lily pads,
dressed in bark brown and mint green
and a motionless fish torn open from within.
I wondered then if you knew, or cared,
as you sat there in a wheelchair and brace,
that I spent last night with your best friend;
as if the pain of injury, aborted aspirations
and a six month rehab stint felt like death
enough at age eighteen.
Black body count
He wasn’t shot for terrorist activities
He wasn’t shot for engaging cops in a drug bust
not for breaking-and-entering
not for running from justice
He wasn’t shot for resisting arrest
He wasn’t shot for public disorder
He was shot.
He was shot for wearing a hoodie
He was shot for resisting a stop-and-frisk
for walking in a gated neighborhood
for threatening looks on the subway
for removing hands from pockets
for driving too slow by
He was shot for playing music too high
He was shot for using coarse language
wearing a bandana
pants hanging too low
style of walk too ‘thuggish’
He was shot.
He was shot because he was young
He was shot because he was Black.
There are times when I thank God I grew up in the 2000’s. There is so much happening.
To be young now
I won’t with modesty say I’m not a spectator
In the stadium of passing, changing times.
I’ve seen risen and fallen powers, personalities,
regimes and even the White House become
as dark as Belgium’s bitter-sweet delicacy.
To be young now time warps me
back to the days of Spring ’68,
to a world under the strain
of social defiance and change.
To be young now…
Sounds as stirring as Dylan’s protest song:
‘‘The times they are a-changin’…’’
Too often we accuse the past of being responsible for our present problems instead of getting our heads down and working to solve them.
I was once told to just blame
this generation’s current issues
on generations that came before.
History, I was told, has handed
us the baton of cross-era curses,
troubles transferred from parent to offspring.
I imagine tomorrow’s inhabitants
will soon blame their tribulations on us too,
unless we exorcise our current demons,
hushing the roaring blaze of maturing woes
in the cleansing rainstorm of forgiveness;
with sociopolitical redemption
I will be on leave all next week so this will be my last post until Christmas. The poem I leave you with is one I read at my school’s cultural evening (talent show for American readers) and one I promised myself to share on this blog as soon as I finished high school:
Parting words to Passing youth
Farewell I say
to the end of days
to blissful innocence
and rebellious adolescence.
For we are butterflies
and our soft cocoon
has opened us to the world.
Where the wind will pull us,
birds will try and consume us
and until we mature,
a resting place will forever elude us.
I still recall with some sad irony
how the school and the home
reigned like monarchs,
and reminisce with passive longing
how parties seemed to never cease,
love brought shots of joy and pain
and long weekends were like paradise.
How like fools we tested and experimented
with that loosening domestic lead
like amateur scientists with Uranium
and how we who knew so little
thought we knew so much.
Those were the days when the future
was but a line on the horizon
and family, career and degree
was on a bucket list for a later time.
For we lived for today.
We were bold.
We were alive.
We were – young.
And only the law,
and careful doses of reality
kept us mortal,
kept us sane.
From across that threshold to adulthood
were I came of age,
I stare back, perhaps wondering,
if that concluded stage
will let me be in its six act play once more.
But it has ended.
The ovation, the applause, the last hurrah
and the curtains have closed.
All I can do is turn around,
spread my wings,
With sweet memories of yesterday,
hanging by my side.
Always in November
November should be the child’s month,
as much as June or July.
In those fraternal twin summer months
the joy of summer vacation
has often worn off to be replaced
in late July by high temperature
boredom and monotony.
In November, Fall’s blood and gold child,
the mind and body are trained as one
in the classroom, Football field
and soccer pitch.
These equal involvements, sport and school,
are features near December; always in November.
There, too, is the seasonal sensation I’ll personally
claim to be the same as diving into the community
swimming pool or blue and ochre ocean:
squealingly bombarding a poor leaf pile.
In the company of brotherly buddies
we would leap in, dust hang-ons
from our smokey wool jackets,
reform the pile and leap in again.