Part I of a new work

Part I of a new work…
when I was a child just
five years old i was
fortunate enough to
have learned to read
very well and far beyond
the level of my peers
and many adults

sadly reading had been
outlawed in the south
for so long that a lot of
adults did not care anymore
nor did a lot of the kids care
for it would be useless
for it wouldn’t matter to
big jimmy crow for
his regime would
send you to the mop
bucket brigade anyway

but a few of us were
fortunate and daring for
we were fortunate to have
parents who taught us or
encouraged us to read
and keep on reading
daring enough to ask
and answer questions for
we asked why were there
colored only signs at
the water fountains for
we asked why did our
grandfathers refer to men
not half their age with yes sir
for we answered questions posed
by teachers while under threat
of receiving a beat down from
future gangsters for trying to
act like we were white but we
were black and our hearts
were pure and we engaged
and we embraced learning

Instead of Running Away, I Raced

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Instead of Running Away, I Raced
–after Maya Angelou

rabid dogs stamped
inferior on my skin
thrust a dish rag in my hand
beat me down with a broom stick
tried to drown me in a mop pail
then they locked me in an iron can
but when the steel bars opened
i learned and i ran
but instead of running away
i raced

amongst many patrons
searching volumes of pages,
volumes of books on library shelves
i raced

amongst many peers in many
computer science, history,
arts, electronics classes
i raced

in many counsels, many mentors
with open ears open eyes,
open heart, closed mouth
i raced

as lowest ranking team member
executing project tasks
project after project after project
i raced

as project captain driving hard
towards aggressive
career threatening deadlines
i raced

rabid dogs stamped
inferior on my skin
thrust a dish rag in my hand
beat me down with a broom stick
tried to drown me in a mop pail
then they locked me in an iron can
but when the steel bars opened
i learned and i ran
but instead of running away
i raced

Jerry T. Johnson, 2017

note:  this poem will appear in the edition 3 re-launch of “Good Morning New Year” – print edition

 

Palatable

I do not want to try to make poetry
palatable to everyone for
then i may end up diluting
meaning

But

I do want to develop the appetite
for poetry
I want to develop the hunger
for prose
I want to contribute to an acquired taste
for words

Humility is What I Choose

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the gods of the corners
the lords of the street
looked at me and spat cliché
“nice guys lose”

but humility is my fist
meekness is my rule
no matter how high i grow
humility is what i always choose

when i board
my morning train
i stand aside and let
little old ladies board first

when the janitor
asks for my garbage pail
from beneath my desk
i hand it to him and i say “yes sir”

when a homeless man
who has lost his leg
asks me for a dollar
i give him two

when the flight attendant asks
me to buckle up,
i comply with a
kind “thank you”

the gods of the corners
the lords of the street
looked at me and spat cliché
“nice guys lose”

but humility is my fist
meekness is my rule
no matter how high i grow
humility is what i always choose

Thanks to Mad Gleam Press

Thanks to Mad Gleam Press for publishing my piece “Some Big Dogs of the Street” in your Vol II publication POSTmortem___ !!!

I’ve already read a few of poems and I am enjoying this publication.  To all who follow my blog (or FB page), if you would like to get yourself a copy of  POSTmortem, just click the link below.  You will find great art, poetry, prose and more in it.  You can also find my work on page 106 🙂

https://www.madgleampress.com/postblank