Because I must;
Because I can;
Because it's akin to breathing
And the alternative is unthinkable.
Because the love of Christ compels me.
Because the love of mankind compels me.
Because, sometimes, I can never say what I feel.
Because the truth needs to be read
And newspapers are slowly going out of business.
Because a 10-year old black boy,
on the South Side of Chicago,
wearing glasses, chubby and
with crooked teeth,
needs to know it's possible.
Because a 40-ish white writer I met
at an art show near downtown L.A. the other night,
needs to know it's possible
and needs to give a shit
and come out from his shell.
Because I'm getting better at it, even though
no one pays me a dime for it.
Because James Baldwin did it.
And Langston Hughes did it.
And Gwendolyn Brooks did it.
And so did Maya Angelou.
Because it's the closest I'll ever come
Because it's the closest I'm ever going to come
to playing jazz. And I love jazz!
Because I still have stuff to say, even if
I don't know what that is just yet.
Because being a writer
is the best thing in the world,
second only to being a teacher...
Or maybe a firefighter...
Or maybe even a cop...
Or a doctor, but that's it.
Because, aside from never recognizing
another person's talent, it's a damn shame
to allow one's talent to be squandered;
for one's light to be hidden;
a gift to be kept to one's self;
for words to never be written, even if
they've been written before.
And that is why I write.
© 2009 Joseph Powell