The Time I Grew Up (In)

“Mommy, what’s that noise?” I said.

She paused the news and cocked her head.

“Cheering—from New York!” In awe,

We joined with glee the hissing RAWR!

Hope flew from his darkened face

And pipe dreams for our paltry race.


Fear set in that fateful day

As Black men walked up to their stage.

Phantom guns and quiet rage—

Right hand raised, and all things changed.

From then on, we saw naught but “change”.

He told us that we would see “change”.

But, still, I can’t be sure what “changed”.


We were overjoyed, we thought

The struggle had been bravely fought,

The war for justice justly won;

And sweet Dreams for our daughters, sons

Had finally seen the garish sun.


Something, here, was missing, though.

As time went on, we came to know.

All the n-words of the day

Were hurled so cruelly in his way.

“Change” had come within us all

As we watched our new world “fall”,

And all we’d hoped to build crumbled, like a burning cross, to the ground.


Eight years later…




Water is Poison, and “Killers” are Killed.

We “play the victim” when they escape blame.

Black folk can’t breathe, now, but are fighting still

We tried being wild; we tried being tame.


Nightsticks and gunshots and Skittles and tea.

Drumbeats are rising; we join or we die.

Chokeholds and spinal cord damage are free.

Black Lives just Matter the louder we cry.


Don’t sacrifice the brute force of your voice.

Don’t seek “attention” by spurning the vote.

Voting for no one is also a choice

To let someone else make your choices—don’t.


Soon, white and gold will walk to their stage

Right hand will raise, and all things will change

From then on, we will see everything change

But not the way that we should have seen change,

Even still, I cannot fathom what changed.

This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


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