its outline screams at me
As if with a lowered head,
the sense of sorrow overwhelms me
Why should this being keep company
with a spry teller of make-believe?
A honed talent caused the weeping and
the grinners to seek my blessing
After words, their lives were changed
If only for a moment
But why is truth a necessity
when peace and harmony calls?
It creeps towards me
and my name melts
with whatever mortal sin I committed
it reminds me of a childhood friend
who would smile when I was chastised
for being myself
imagining better, softer times
in a welcoming world of bliss
Who will tell my stories when I can’t?
The price we pay for companionship
often comes with a penalty
For maybe the debt was paid too soon
and looking at the sky
You hear voices
because of your choices
telling you things
as if an angel sings
But do they stop
when you’re happy
Or do they wait
’til you’re crappy?
Once they find you
you’re never through
is their dedication
A life long friend
true to the end
who’s begging to stay in
as you look to the ground again
I know I don’t have to tell you the history Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech, so I won’t. At that time, and definitely when you were elected by a landslide in 2008, Americans as well as foreigners alike were hopeful that a change would come in the issue of racial equality. Dr. King dreamed of a better day for minorities. Sadly, unfortunately, he was struck down long before he could witness a man he fought so hard for to rise to the mountain top. Yes sir, you are on the mountain top. But, it makes one wonder if you truly had the same dream as Dr. King.
People still march in front of and around the house that you command. Jobs are lost, homes lost, lives lost…and still, the hope is there but it seems like it’s fading away. Though we all know that it’s not just minorities who are in jeopardy of a continuous diminishing livelihood, so much media attention now is comparing Dr. King’s message to your “Yes we can” or even the “Change” messages you promoted. “Yes we can” is what Blacks and Whites alike chanted back to you, in an effort to get you elected as the first “African-American,” not Black, President of the United States. I guess in Dr. King’s time, he was considered colored or Negro. Boy, have the times really changed? Now, Blacks are considered African-American with thanks to the Reverend Jessie Jackson and his 1988 campaign for your spot. Yet, the “Change” so many shouted for you has not been felt. Then again, many minorities feel that it has gotten worse for them since you took over the podium.
With jobs being a major focus for Americans, one should wonder how jobs will be created when there is no real demand for products that can’t be afforded. Education pales due to the fact that once the paper is received and the debt is grieved, it’s all about who you know to get placement in this world. Then, there are the lucky ones who have the stars lined up for them and feel that the law of prosperity will follow them if they go to the side where money talks. In other words, once Democrats now become Republicans. Yes, Republican is synonymous wealth and status. Democrats are for the hopeless and near-desperate. As an elected-Democrat, what exactly do you represent? The podium is yours, the microphone is yours. Though you stand up straight, it’s actually confusing as to where you stand…for the un-chosen broken.
I read a poem called, “The Day the Ghetto Died,” and found it to be interesting.
I looked and saw that I had everything money could buy
Then realized how little I had
But my ancestors had much pride
Can you tell if this author is Republican or Democrat? One would assume that because the author mentioned “ancestors,” he or she is non-white. One side doesn’t seem to have to yell to get their point across. Another side is just simply ignored and floored. Who could deny the impact of one Oprah, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, or Quincy Jones? They have made their mark on the world. Crossovers? Maybe. Still, even the mighty O still has her bouts with abandonment. And now, Americans are feeling abandoned by another mighty O. Are you building your cabin the way you want it to be? There are laws that are nearly favoring the execution of Blacks, let alone Black males – in a state many believe changed the course of history in 2000. As time advanced, so has favoritism. Who now represents our nation for the minorities who want a better life? Just because of the so-called self-help television shows and books, the destination can’t be reached without support, resources.
Let’s give kudos to those who can stand back and thank their lucky stars for a blessed life. It is with faith that those individuals cultivate their gifts and make them grow. Also, they should remember how they got to be in their cushy position and not be ashamed to admit that they received help along the way. Has much sight been lost by tending to the grass in other nations backyards? When you awaken from your night’s sleep, can you honestly tell your dream without making a joke about it? Laughter is only a temporary fix and dreams of a better way die when they can’t be fulfilled. And time heals no one or nothing. It only makes conditions harsher without proper treatment.
Would Dr. Martin Luther King be pleased with the conditions minorities face today? Probably not. Then again, had his dream been kept alive 1988 would have never happened and the 2000 election would never have seen the light of day. You would still have had your chance to speak for the disadvantage man and woman. But you more than likely would have been forced to keep your promises of a better day.
Don’t be that father that went out for milk and never came back. Or, the one who pops back in from time to time to say, “Hey, remember me?” Almost two years into our new house and the steps still haven’t been fixed. You’re the only one who knows where the materials are to fix the steps.
The ghetto should have died by now and changed into a neighborhood. Though it’s like that way for so many, change just can’t happen fast enough. Some can’t even remember their dreams.
And, to think, the movie “The Butler” made you cry.
What is it that would make a Black person think their lives are so much busier than the next person when it comes to voting? I couldn’t believe it when I heard a Black man say in the grocery store, “Well, I’m just gonna send my vote in early. I don’t wanna wait in that long line.” Seriously? As I recall, your ancestors and others that probably aren’t that much older than you are today had to stand in lines to be told they couldn’t come in to a certain place or that they had to enter from the back of the house or building. Now mind you, I saw no debilitating ailment that this man possessed, just the ignorance that was placed upon his chest and forehead by someone who told him it was probably better that way. Whenever I tried to look him in his eyes, he more than shied away from me. It was almost as if he tried to run without moving. He shrugged. He averted. He diverted. He cussed under his breath. He cussed out loud as he spoke about the mistake he made in the last election, anyway. I refused to move. I acknowledged him the only way I could, for that moment, until his breath ran out. And, when I heard those most hateful and despicable words that could comprise a phrase, “What difference does it make anyway?,” I pounced.
It was pretty easy, I must say, getting this gentleman to talk to me. He seemed very proud to be the first of seven children to send his only child to college on a janitor’s salary assisted by a criminal justice degree from a reputable four-year college. His devotion and loyalty to a childhood friend who died at the hand of a law official is how he attributes his abandoning his dream position in law enforcement. As a janitor, he felt safe. There, he did not pose a threat to anyone nor would anyone threaten him as long as he relied on tunnel vision. He was well past retirement age and didn’t find it hard to understand how compromises were made for him to be able to make the choice to become a janitor; though there are those who consider themselves custodial engineers (without a legitimate four-year college degree). The pride he had for his only daughter showed proudly on his face as the clouds could nearly touch his chest. Letters were written by him to the news stations and local newspapers about issues that concerned not only himself, but members of his church and study group; he started a book club that has been in session for five years. While we stood there talking in the poultry section, I became engrossed in the presence of a rock star. Everybody knew this guy and he knew them. The crowd could associate the name with the face. The letters he wrote couldn’t do that. Come to find out, the gentleman never forwarded a letter under his real name. He said he just didn’t want the attention. Suddenly, I felt like I needed medication. Here it is, a well-educated, most literate (articulate sounds so insulting for a man of color who has graduated even from high school) man did not want to be acknowledged for his own efforts. Was this cowardice or arrogance? Just because he was Black, I came to understand that he could also have an air of arrogance. After all, he was human.
Although he probably wasn’t in the hunt for a new position anywhere, I suggested that he must have a pretty remarkable resume. Alright, so there was a little sarcasm in there only because of his expressed phobia. Yes, he did have a phobia that he hadn’t allowed a therapist the privilege of knowing. He allowed another person’s demise stifle him. The man had become complacent and had convinced himself that he deserved to be behind the scenes. And there he stayed for years, but popular for just his presence. “Do you know what an employer does with a résumé that has too many errors?” I asked. “Why, I have heard it goes in the garbage can,” he replied demandingly. “Then, why can’t you see the possibility of the same thing happening to your vote whether it’s electronic or absentee?” I said. It took him a minute, but he got it. The man understood that his presence was needed in order to make sure his vote really counted. The many possibilities of errors occurring never occurred to him. And, in the way he would write letters, he said that he didn’t want his friends to think differently of him. I was floored! This brilliant man before me – this rock star personality was afraid to show that he played an integral part in the universe. Not only was he content with being behind the scenes, he was content with being someone turned something else. When I asked him how his daughter felt about what he does, I could see the river start to flow. Yet, he was talking to me in a grocery store as if I could have been his best friend. She didn’t know he was the anonymous local celebrity who was relevant. He was so pleased to have discussions about the writer’s topics. She was amazed at how much knowledge he had on each subject. He looked forward to their continued talks once she got settled into college. The hug I received from this man was one I will never forget. I don’t know if he’d ever say that he had a therapy session with me, but I can say I had one with him. There is a reason for everything. Every single person on this planet has feelings. And one person’s phobia may seem so small to the rest of us. The thought of trying to remain anonymous is one thing. But, when we do it for the wrong reason really cripples us and those who care about us. When messages of positivity are sent out into the universe, I think the universe wants to reward that energy with positive energy. We all know what happens when hate is cast into the air…there is but despair.
To be sure his vote counts, he will get in line instead of trying to vote early or by absentee ballot. By being present, he could see the confirmation for himself. He will make sure this potential cycle is broken with his daughter. I will continue to see people as people and know that they all have a story to tell. But why I chose him to accost and talk to him didn’t make sense to me until I thought we were about to part. Looking at my watch, it was now 3:30 in the afternoon. I arrived at 3:00. I felt like at least a couple of hours had gone by. Then suddenly, I got my answer. “You know, you look just like my buddy that passed away years ago. Would you like to see his picture?” he said smiling. “Sure.” I was speechless! The resemblance was uncanny. Everything made sense. I guess we both did exactly what we were supposed to do that day. How could we not be friends after that? I didn’t need a copy of that picture because I felt like it was me looking back at myself. Talk about timing. While he was sending his only child off to learn a new lesson, we both learned one in just that short time.