Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crying Wrong When No One Is Crying Right....a Poem Written from Frustration in 2000. 14 Years Later, and....

Norman Rockwell, "Do Unto Others" (1961)
Last night, I was corresponding with a kid who was frustrated with his world. He wanted me to help him with his vocabulary and wondered if I could get him into a University class at Fairfield (he dropped out of high school earlier this year). Given that yesterday was the burial of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the political implications of this has yet to be unwound - notice with the the 'un' we're left with 'wound'. The nation is wounded once again.

In 2000, however, a racial incident occurred at a well-known Christian High School in Louisville and my students and I were there to experience it. It was ugly. My students were looking for ways to process what they witnessed, especially in a crowd of white "Christians" and I felt a responsibility to hear them the next day in school. We were working within a poetry unit and I collected words from them and played one of my poetic games --- I tried to find a positive way to rant, poetically, what they were telling me.

Anyway. Crying Wrong. 

Crying Wrong because no one involved in Ferguson is Crying Right at this moment. I'm not sure anyone in the United States is crying right at this moment..

And I am not claiming this is a good poem at all. Simply, I'm posting here as I'm thinking my way through next steps for the ways I understand the world I live.

Cry Wrong

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
brings me to my celebrations and my sorrow,
and if I could, I’d like to borrow an allusion to Jay-Z,
and help myself to add light to a hazy
morning where I’m meant to cry,

So, I place the thoughts to paper,
trying to remain strong
frustrated by the song
I attempt to sing, to bring, to cling
to my truth as it belongs to me --

Oh, say can you see
this isn’t accurate history,
but a tinted white milk jug
carried along a dusty road
(we should walk together,
but we follow different lines)
                                      white lines blow away
                                      dark lines add contrast
                                      blasting  us into gray....
                                      as we live in this half moon cookie.

American Dream for who?
for you?
it’s complicated, you know?
Head to toe,
we appear as we do...
as facades we know as true,
leaving us in “shackled” limitations
brought to us by textbooks,
and the looks we get,
simply because we are.

(young friend - America’s come so far,
but has only just begun ---
dreams must move ahead,
gain strength from moon and sun)

Run. Leap. Keep. Jump. Break. Trust. Fly

No matter how much we sigh -
        and give up -
handing our voice over is the surest way
to be silenced,
        and in silence,
scary secrets are kept --
         secrets whispered to me
         as I’ve studied
         and slept,
         trying to understand it all)

Mankind’s fall in this modern Eden,
is knowing just enough to be stupid,
just too little to be wise,
and, so, with these eyes I say cry, “passion,”
(but they cry “wrong”)
putting ink to paper, feeling weak
                                 yet somehow strong....

       You put tape over my mouth
        and I’ll find another way to breathe,
       You cut off my hands
        and I’ll teach you with my eyes...
                 QUESTION THE LIES!
                 QUESTION THE LIES!
                 QUESTION THE LIES!
        and step out of the cave,
        letting a new voice be heard: Rebel! Rant! Rave!
                 (all with your heart beating to the pulse
                  of that maternal womb
                  that loves you, trusts you and
                  needs you to spread inevitable wings).

And this brings me
back to me.

You see, I’m constructing my own reality
in a perspective processing pride
(which doesn’t wish to hide behind everything I’ve been told,
but attempts to be bolder and grab a hold
of an intuition immeasurable by man -
only by the Grace the Great Whatever, somehow I can)

The milk jug is spilling
and I’m sorry I cry wrong
(with this rhyme, use of rhtythm, my story, this song)
but I’m singing and that’s my point.
And I’m singing to you, Fight.

Enlighten the magic within.

On t.v. they say to be beautiful,
be rich,
have muscle,
and fame---
NBC network’s real good at such a white game
(perhaps the peacock and its colors are actually quite lame)
and I wonder if our shadows
blend together, a simpler hue,
blinded, once again, by the evil these masks do,
preconceived notions of a patriotic ethnic stew,
making individuality, complex, beyond the me and you).

One and One equals two
and I respect us for that
and not how commercials portray us
display us
betray us
because we are more complicated than
the lumped sum of societal succotash
shown to us on CBS,
awareness of the mess shades symbolize
in the shallowness of their depth.

so many around you try ---
and that is why I cry wrong,
unemotionally emotional
to the XY of my jeans
socialized by the habit
of masculiniity, so it seems...
(yet full of feelings, nonetheless)

And I can’t stress enough that they’re real...
unexplored they stay concealed...
but in epiphany, reveal
a rennaisance yet announced.

Pronounce for a second these words:
And for each mono syllable of “how can we not be thankful”
   b   r     e    a     t     h,
denotations representing a universe of connotations:
that perhaps says the silence shows us more...

but does it?

This allows the the vocal to win
(and really, who has the home court advantage?)

disadvantaged, I
still fight for answers
to questions I once ignored

All the songs
leave me crying wrong
entertaining in the
existentialist hip hop
and my honkey do-wop waltz
that runs neck in neck with time
finding solutions through rhyme
and evolving as best as I can,
ranting, chanting, wanting you to join me...

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