The following poem is one that I wrote, oh maybe, fifteen years ago or so, and one, I believe, is in keeping with the theme of black history. Not to mention, that some of what it speaks about and to is still relevant in these supposedly enlightened times. I performed an excerpt of it in the National Geographic/PBS documentary special, "Skin", which aired back in November 2002 and which is featured here as well. I hope that you may find something inspirational or thought-provoking or maybe even just a little bit of yourself in the piece. And if not, just keep your comments to yourself.(Just kidding!)
Resolved:To Be Seen and Heard
(An Invisible Man Speaks Out)
Hear me, America!
For I will not be silent.
I will not go gentle
Into that good night
Or anywhere else you wish me to go.
For I am here
And here I'll stay,
Until you acknowledge me
Or die trying.
For I am your darker brother
You'd rather keep in the closet;
The invisible man you choose not to see;
The millionth man wishing to be counted;
The rapper and the preacher,
Speaking the truth to you in love,
But by all means necessary.
I am the somebody standing next to you in an elevator,
As you clutch your purse tighter and hope that
I'm not getting off on the same floor as you.
I am God's child, sitting next to you in church,
And yet as far away from you as the east is from the west.
I am the one who got away
From the projects, drugs, gangs, and prisons;
Who works on Wall Street, Madison Ave, the Wilshire District,
and the Magnificent Mile;
But can't catch a cab or buy a home
or get a loan or date your daughter
or live next door to you.
I am Othello, the hero you love in public,
and the scourge you hate in private.
I am James Baldwin,
Martin Luther King,
And a host of others--
Still wondering, when are you going to wake up?
Wondering, when are you going to get it?
I am the ghost of decades past;
Of slavery and lynchings,
Of white sheets and burning crosses,
Of Jim Crow and "Move to the rear",
Of attack dogs and fire hoses,
Of "Wait!" and "Be patient!",
Of assassinations and wiretaps,
Of getting the mule without the 40 acres,
Of affirmative action and Indian-giving
(If you know what I mean!).
Am I bugging you?
Have I got under your skin?
Because you haven't gotten under mine yet,
Nor have you walked in my shoes.
For if you could, you'd see
That I am you and you are me;
The reflection of your hopes and fears,
Your thoughts and dreams;
The other side of the coin;
Truth staring you in the face;
Love waiting to be received;
The dream tired of being deferred;
The voice in the wilderness,
waiting to be answered.
Will you see me as I am,
Not as what pride and prejudice
Has blinded you to?
Will you hear me
Amidst the din and noise
Of fear and ignorance?
Hear me say,
In a still small voice,
"I love you!"........
I'm still waiting.
© Joseph Powell