Grade School Blues

July 17, 2016

I knew a boy in grade school.
Not very well—but I cried for him once or twice.
Wept with my full body for his sake, not mine.
He was in my class—an unpolished student with a quick tongue and tendency to have fun at another's expense.
He didn’t have many friends, neither did I
Everyone seemed to be afraid of the melanin in our skin.
He would cause a ruckus in class, after class.
Laughter and fighting would last till the bell rang or the principal came.
Then he would be gone for days—sent away by a higher and whiter power.
No one asked if he was okay.
  He was given no sympathy, unlike the white boy whose privilege earned them dignity along with 2nd, 3rd, and 10th chances and counseling after their bad actions.
He wasn’t always bad—but everyone expected the worst of him.
And maybe part of him wanted to give in to the notion of he was inadequate.
He would sit in class silently and be accused of uncalled for violence
He would cry and plead telling the teacher “Please—not again. I didn’t do anything!”
But it didn’t matter, it was too late he would be sent away and retreat into himself.
Maybe in his mind he was worthy of pride.
So I cried, I cried for him—because someone had to.
I was weak with a new awareness that brought me to a dreamt kiss where I tasted the salt of his tears and realized all his fears.
The cops would stop him and his brother for just walking home while black and “mean faced”.
They never realized that these teachers and officers were a disgrace.
They were the authority
Altering the quality of their lives until they believed they were undeserving of all things.
They didn’t have a father—he left.
But they did have a mother and disabled sister to protect.
It’s hard out there for black boys. And even harder for black men.



I hope that he’s doing better now—he deserves so much better.

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