NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 124

122 Samantha did not shake my hand or talk to me that night because I was too self-conscious in my own inadequacies as a writer to introduce myself. But more than that, she did not know I had been at Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers for about a year and was being escorted by one of the counselors in the program to her reading. Years later I would meet Samantha at the Gwendolyn Brooks Conference for Black Literature and Writing at Chicago State University and would confess how profound her reading and listening to her narrate her life’s journey effected and inspired me that night in Hillsborough. With that said, I consider today a small miracle. Our paths have come full circle and so we meet again with me having followed in Samantha’s footsteps to pursue my education and love of writing. The sum of a person’s life is often measured by individual feats that culminate over a lifetime. When I look into the eager faces of the high school students who are waiting for Samantha and myself to reveal the secrets of poetry, of language, I know I am making a difference. It has taken the summation of my life up until this point to have the language to help inspire young people. Poetry has allowed me to dissect the world in a way I never could before. I feel like Langston Hughes in that I see everything you don’t see. I always keep this mantra close to my vest, even as I am riding back to Connecticut on the Metro North after a workshop. Lxxxx, your incarceration will not leave my head, and I have so many observations that I need to tell you, because I know you understand me in ways few people can. I want to talk about race, color, identity and living in a mental prison. BRN-FALL-2013.indb 122 III Lxxxx, the marble eyes I’ve recently gazed through have been the same one’s that ponder the autobiography of you—where you come from, where you been and where you are going. At any given moment I am inside your peripheral vision, [XY?[?[???]^X??\??\[?H?^?H?[?H?[[?B??Y\[?[?[]?\??][??X?]\?H\?\?[?YY ??Y][??H?[??Z[??[?????HY[[?K?H?^H?[?\????]?\??\?\?H?\???&\?\??]X?\?[???[?][?\?[?^\?[?XYH?\?[? ??H[?[?\?[X?X[??H[Z]Y???B?H?[][??[??^?H[??^B?\[??X][??HX??\?\??[?K??YB???[?HH??x?&\???X?\?[\\?[Y[???H??[X?\?^H?[?H?Y[??????X]?\?]??H?Y[YY?\?[? ???\????H?Y\????\?H[??Y?\?[?H??Y??H???X]H??Y^?HZ\??\?B?X]\?[?Y?X???\??][????[??YB??]^H?Y??????[?[Y[?[??H??\?[??????[????H\?H???Y]H]?H[\?\??Y?\??[?\?][?H??\^]H???[?\?Y??\???\??]?[\?[X[??\[?Y?\??H?X?Y?X?[???????\??KH??[XZ?HH????[?\?Y????]??Y??????[??YB?[?\?\???[?X?H?Z[???XZ?HB?\?[[\?K?]\??H?[??B?[????]?[??[???H\? ?JB?????X??H?]\?K?????YH?X\???H?Y[?\?\??Y\?[??]\?\?[?\??X??[???]X?\??H??YH???HH?[YB?Y[[?K?[??\????H]?B?[?X?]YH?[???[????H?[??&]?]?\?\??\H]?Y?[?[XY?H?B?[???\H[?X]H????X?Y ?\?B?]\?Y?Z[?]??????X???????X?[??X?\?[??\?????????[?[Y[????Y[?H[?x?&\\?KH???[X?\?]H??Y???[???HZ\??ZYY??X?\?K?Y?H??[????X???][?]X[[?Y[??Y?\?H??][][??X\?8?%x?&[B?[?[??X??]H?\????[?\??[??\?B?Y?\?H?Y??[??]?H[?H]?\????\?Y?]]?Y[[????[?]?H?Y[?Z?O?Y??H??Y[?H??[?]?H?Y[??\?[?Y?\?H?[??B?^??[??\?X?KX[?\\?X?H[???X?K][?]?\??[ ?\?[?Y\]YY?YY?\??\???%?\?? ?]X\???Y[[???X]H[X[??%??Z\??X?B?[?????\??X?H?[8?%?H?X?????\??[???YH?Y?[?[^[Y????Z[??[?H?Y?[??[??H[^YY???X[?X???\?X??Y?YK??XY?B?X??Y?Y[??%?????X?[?Y????Y?[??Y??H??Y[?H??[]?B???Y???\??]][?Y[? ?]?H?Y[?\?x?%??X??[??\??X??H^K???YH??Y][???[?\?X?[???[??Z[??\??H?^???]\?8?&]?H?Y[???H[[Z?Z ???K?L??L? L??SB??