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A poem for Archie

                                      with gratitude

 

from Whitewashed: the racism project, Photo Credit: Robert Cooper

Tell me how to be brave in this world,

how to stare into the eyes of monsters

crawling in shadows, how to wrap

my fingers into my palm, raise it like

a beacon light under bridges and over

highways. Some days, when it rains,

when temperatures drop, when wind

howls, I think of you standing in the midst

of it all, reminds me how much I can do

however small. Today, I can be a little

more brave, share a little more weight,

lift up and keep going like you said.

 

A friend told me inspiration is a tough

occupation and I didn’t even want to write

this poem because this is hard       

 

stringing words together to make it look

easy like holding a sign to fight racism

makes it look easy but ain’t nothing easy

about showing up on the most uninspired

days, them tired days, them grieving days,

 

standing while the beast of this life

breathes hot air in your face, mouth wide

teeth sharp and ready to bite. I want to be

brave in a world that intends to eat me

whole, and I might not know how to be

that all the time, but I have borne witness

to bravery and I don’t mean not ever being

afraid because we ALL are a little scared

sometimes but it is standing there

anyhow

 

having endured enough to say enough, no

longer looking for light outside

ourselves to chase fear out of the dark but

instead, lighting the whole way afraid

and isn’t that what it means to be brave?

 

When I walk on these sidewalks,

down by this mural,

over there in that park,

here in this market

over by that building

I’ll see your smile and your sign

 

When I get on stage, I’ll remember

that quiet way you’d drop in

and dip out to show that you

were here and my friend,

 

You were here

You were here

 

You were here

 

You were here...



 

Written by D. Colin

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