Thank You for the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature nomination!


 

It should be such an honor to be considered for such a prestigious award.  Then again, there is even the Nobel Peace Prize for Poetry.  Poetry and Literature, both tell stories yet in different ways.  The only thing that separates the two is structure.  With Poetry, the intellectual looks for a pattern of iambic pentameter, iambic tetrameter, and even iambic hexameter.  You don’t even have to rhyme.  Then again, in Literature, one doesn’t even have to be a grammatical genius.  Even Editors make mistakes which still lead to millions of publications turning into best-sellers.  All it takes is someone with authority to write a stellar review for the author and a star is born.  Once the book is purchased, how often is it returned due to lack of substance of content?  Even the buyer is seen as an intellectual – who doesn’t want to challenge authority.  He or she will even go to book signings and readings to be a part of the  in-crowd in an effort to do their part for the cause.  Sarcastically, one may mention how shallow a particular story character was just to try and make a point of expressing utter disdain for a contribution that could have otherwise gone to aid the children in Ethiopia.  Still, presence means so much.

 

There seems to be a formula for everything.  Some say they can predict the next President, some have become expert at predicting the stock market, some have been said to know when the real estate market would burst.  Yet, many members who once held firm beliefs in their middle-class stature now hang their heads lower than the vagrant who had no shame peddling for a drink or a cup of coffee.  The middle-class could always point to where the ghetto was.  Now, no one wants to admit that their dwelling is located there.  In the era of the Haves and the Have-nots, it may even be safe to say the ghetto is dead.  In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement was the result of discrimination of one race of people and their segregation from another.  Many lives were sacrificed to pave the way for better future conditions of the Black or Negro (depending on which term they chose to use at that time).  During that horrific time period, that group looked up to a savior who they felt would lead them out of that turmoil.  Then, just at that turning point, that guiding light was extinguished – crushing so many hearts and souls to the point that many feared the end was closer to the beginning.  Conditionally, segregation was eventually ended.  Doors were opened for those who wanted to walk through them – and closed indefinitely for those who chose not to want to make a difference.  Time and time again, the next rising star on the scene would make a stance only to fade into oblivion soon after.  Fast forward a half a century, the Civil Rights Movement has reared its ugly head again; this time, though it may be harder for one group even with credentials to further themselves, not having does not discriminate. 

 



The Day the Ghetto Died

 

 

On the day the Ghetto died

Malcolm X bowed his head

While Martin Luther King stood and cried

 

On the day the Ghetto Died

Some sat and sang a hymn

Others just sat and lied

Lied about what the white man did for them

 

On the day the Ghetto Died

Little babies ran through streets

While their mothers bowed their heads and cried

To see their children with shoes on their feets

 

On the day the Ghetto died

The bible was opened even wider

To thank the Lord for a bond to be tied

And to pray for it to be tighter

 

In front of the steeple

I sat and felt a drop of rain

I looked up despite the people

And saw Jesus rejoicing over his pain

 

The pain must have been great

For it came down like a herd of angry men

But then it stopped

And I saw the sky smile again

 

‘Twas the Day the ghetto died

all the great heroes rose from the dead

to spread the knowledge they once had to hide

to the souls whose hearts now bled

 

They walked in hundreds of thousands

Wearing potato sacks

And chains and ropes

I can say this – for I was there

And in unison they sang the most beautiful hymn

 

It was one I never got to write

Because I could only listen in solemnity

It was a song that made me frown

 – one that gave me back my dignity

 

The tone sounded like it came

From the chain gang

But I couldn’t be sure if it was of

Rejoice or of pain

 

I walked around my beautiful home and cried

I looked and saw that I had everything money could buy

Then realized how little I had

But my ancestors had much pride

 

 

When I read this poem, I realize it doesn’t just relate to any one particular group of people.  Though  two Black leaders are shown, their significance is great and was even more important during their time.  The ghetto has died because it has been invaded by Life.  “They walked in hundreds of thousands/Wearing potato sacks/And chains and ropes…” what a riot, a rebellion…like occupying Wall Street or overthrowing a government.  People walking around their homes, knowing that at any moment they face eviction.  Never in a million years did they see their dream being shattered.  Never in a million years did they ever think they would be on the same sideline as the underdog.  Never in a million years would they waste a dollar or two to buy a lottery ticket.  Yes, there is a different kind of dream. 

For the millions of Americans who lost their jobs and had to go on unemployment, not only was their lifestyle altered but their way of life demolished.  Once the unemployment benefits ran out and the job prospects looked even more dismal, many abandoned all hopes of acquiring a legal means that would allow them to lead a sustainable life.  Why can’t someone just lower the corporate tax so that the outsourcing can stop?  Maybe, just maybe, all the crimes that no one seems to be able to agree that are actually hate crimes will stop if people have a beneficial outlet.  And there is no discrimination as to who does the crime. 

There is this book, “But what is life…Anyway?” that has nothing but poetry in it.  I’m surprised no one has written a review on it yet.  I’ll leave that to the intellectuals.  And along that same line, I saw Anna Deavere Smith’s “Let me Down Easy” and was completely shocked.  What that woman did onstage with the characters she created, I could only hope that my voice is expanded that way in my poetry.  It’s so funny how each individual role or piece could act as a separate message yet forming one central thought.  If only America could truly focus on what the Constitution says, “All Men Are Created Equal.”  Although color was left out of that formulated masterpiece, wouldn’t it be astounding if we could all become colorblind on purpose?  There is only one thing keeping us from that vision or thought:  Ego.  Whether it’s our ego or someone else’s ego… it’s still ego.  Ego rules everything.  It determines who is right and who is wrong.  Ego even determines who lives and who dies.  Ego is a mental death or a physical death.  Ego matters to the winner and the loser.  Ego never dies – it either expands or diminishes.  Ego takes the place of a podium as it stands in front of one’s name.  Ego is the Nobel Peace Prize before the “Thank You” from the recipient.

Literature still requires some literal or literate form structure.  There is no beat like Poetry; but a literal temperature that holds one’s interest long enough to remember the author’s name.  Those who nominate a candidate for a prize in Literature should at least be aligned with that presenter’s vision.  If they aren’t, then why tamper with that ego?  There should be a flow like a river.


 

 The River

 

Singing a song

that carries cool along a bank

of tears released by Heaven

and engulfed by Man

Created for pleasure below

where life is given again

and washed away

Smiled down on

When all ceases and admires

its healing powers

to fall in love there

and make love there

 

 

 

             

I will always remember the final scene in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” when Spencer Tracy gave that memorable speech fusing the two cultures together.  He reminded Dr. Prentiss and his daughter, Joey just how much adversity they had to face based on their interracial relationship.  Though a good message for that situation would have been ‘Love conquers all,’ today that message has wavered.  There has become a melting-pot of love among the races.  And like the races, we even watch smart people or intelligent people fail, fall victim to schemes that were devised by people turned criminals that they believed in.  No one is immune to anything.  Again, the ego was played upon and preyed upon.  I, on the other hand, appreciate the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature and/or Poetry no matter how egotistical it may sound.  What job it must bring to the one who took the time out of their busy schedule of duties to add my name to the list of prime candidates who probably have only be heard of by members of their inner circle.  What a magnificent gift it is to be able to join or unite beings of one thought to live harmoniously together and have that message forwarded on to generations to come.

 

 

 

 

 

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