Rising is Harder Than it Seemed


Langston Hughes’ mama told him “Life ain’t been no crystal stair”

Well, I reckon it be the same way for me, too

No crystal stair ever showed up for me,

To ascend me to heaven

To let me hear the sweet Jazz of Jesus

No, only hard, cold stairs,

That break my soft, brittle bones as I’m pushed down them

For trying to attend school

For drinking out of their fountains

For sitting in their seats.

No, crystal is pure, pristine, and clear –

It has no room for me

For I am black, sinned, and ugly to them.

It can not bear the weight of my calloused feet,

Tainted with mud from the fields I tend

Nor can my measly wages pay for such a serene stair.

So, instead, I bury my despair

The stair is shattered, and so are my dreams

Now, with broom in hand,

I must sweep this mess up before mas’a come home and sees


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