My Journey as a Poet – #3

Our So-Called “Great Poems”

After receiving notification from Catalyst magazine that my poem “I Be A Bad Dude”, I was both enthralled and perplexed. I was enthralled over having a poem from my first submission to a magazine being selected for publication. I was perplexed over the question of why hadn’t the magazine selected “my great poems” that I sent in the same package.

I laugh every time I think about the notion of “my great poems.” What hubris! I had not been published yet and I thought I was sending “great poems” in my first submission ever to my first publisher ever. I actually threw “I Be a Bad Dude” into the mix just to max out the submissions requirement of 1-to-5 poems. I didn’t think much of it. I wrote it in 5 minutes, edited it in 10 minutes and I was done. To my surprise the editors loved it. Now that I have learned one or two things over time and after reading it the my pre-pre-senior years I understand why. It was the great poem. The others were not.

Stay tuned for my next post on “My Journey as a Poet ”

Previous Posts of this series can be found at:

Post #1

Post #2

Thoughts About Service

now that i am free
now that i am strong
i think about service
and i advise myself to
pour a cup of water for the thirsty
cut a slice of bread for the hungry
speak words of courage to the intimidated
spread a cover over the bed of the weary
shield the orphan from the reprehensible
protect the widow from thieves and robbers
visit the hospitalized ill in their sickness
for the forgotten hold vigils of remembrance
for the abandoned help find a home

“Thoughts About Service” and many other poems can be read in “Good Morning New Year”

also on Amazon in the UK

My Journey as a Poet (post #2)


(Part of Series:  My Journey as a Poet – click link below to see previous posts)

My first Published Poem:  “i be a bad dude”

After my little dust-up with the young man who was cussing at his parents I went home. When I waked into my apartment I felt like an emotional wreck. I felt wired and I felt intense. I plopped down on my little short sofa, picked up my leather bound portfolio that I used for writing and I wrote. In finished a poem in fifteen minutes. The title was “I Be A Bad Dude”. I was not writing a rant but I was pouring my intensity onto the page. I channeled my rage into rationale and i stated my case in between the lines of my poem. Here it is:

(Acknowledgement: this poem appeared in Catalyst Magazine in 1992)

i be a bad dude

i a bad dude
i real slick, smooth and rude

i cuss my mother
i shoot my father
slaps my sister
and spits on my brother

i a bad dude

when my women give me lip
i go upsides they head
and if they don’t shut they trap
they finds themselves dead

i a bad dude

i don’t work for no black man
i don’t work for no white man
i don’t feed no babies
i don’t make no monthly payments
i don’t go to school
and i don’t care about no rules
cause i’m fine, slick, crude and rude
i’s be chillin cause i’s a bad dude

Notes on Title Fighting



in the middle
of one serious

to my pursuit
of success as i
follow my dreams

i finally stopped crying
i finally stopped complaining
i finally stopped sleeping
i finally stopped stressing

must change my pace
in the ring
must step back
lay on the ropes
and let opposition swing

let opposition swing
while i cover my head
let opposition swing
while i take blows to muscle
let opposition swing
while i deflect with strong arms

let opposition swing
while i stay on the ropes

and wait…

for my day, my hour, my minute, my moment, my round


“Notes On Title Fighting” and many other poems can be read in “Good Morning New Year”