Friday, April 26, 2013

Poem: Riding Into Town

Riding Into Town
By: Joi Maree Flowers

I was hoping to see yesterday
When I rode back
Into the town
Where my youthful days were spent
Back to a time
Where life was lived happily
Or to my child's mind it seemed

I couldn't wait to see
Ms Betty
And give her a dollar
For one of her big famous red velvet cupcakes
And another 50 cents
For a red frozen cup

And then there are
My old friends
Whom I left behind
Just so I could get to know some of the world for awhile
How I'd missed them so
How I couldn't wait to exchange some tales with them

But as I turned right on the 15th Avenue corner
Of 11th Street
I saw a sight
Much different than I'd hoped to see
A scene of empty playgrounds
Abandoned houses
Dirt packed yards
And broken dreams

Those people there were not my people
Though their faces looked the same
Their light that once shined bright of opportunity
Had dimmed to gray
And a shadow of darkness followed not far behind in the distance
Of their pathed ways

Struggle cries
Empty pockets
And bullets from the mouths of guns
Rang outside where once
There was laughter
And late night neighborhood gatherings

Who once dreamed to become a famous actress
Stands now at a corner waiting for her next trick to turn
Who once dreamed of becoming a criminal lawyer
Is now the hand that deals to his brothers their dose of death choices

What happened to my people
My family
Who grew up in this same hood like me
Who've now become so different
And have changed so much
That I now stand on the opposite side of them
When a time ago we all held each other's hands
I'd only been gone for 4 years
It had only been for a short time
So how could a community so fast
To dreams
And to life
Say a final goodnight

I wondered as I rode around the block
Got out
And looked to the sky
Then to everyone around
And then to the ground

Standing here in the midst of this place
That I once called
Where the sun still shined
But the weather was
Freezing cold

Now as a stranger
Where I was once well known
Frowned upon now
Because no longer
Was I like them
The norm

So goodbye is what I said
In my mind
To this now unknown
And got into car
To leave out of this town
That I use to call my home

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