I wrote this a year ago when I wasn’t sure how to put my emotions into action after Trump got elected. Today is the last day I will be 25 so I figured I would post this so I wouldn’t be lying in my poem.
When I was 5 the walls kept me safe, I was in
With my sisters and brother, inside we won’t sin
But truth be told no walls kept us silent
To explore and unearth, our appetite- resilient.
When I was 10 I used the walls for wall ball
My friends grew competitive while I? I grew tall
At 10 I was growing my lusts and desires
On the playground I learned, fighters never grow tired.
When I was 15 the walls kept me studying in school
It wouldn’t take long to decide this was cruel
At 16 the walls were a fence I would climb
To escape into freedom, the feeling- sublime.
When I was 20 the walls barred us from Jackson Avenue
In Memphis your privilege separated the “we” and the “you”
Safely tucked away on our one-acre plot
On the streets North and West, race wars were still fought.
I’m 25 now.
My president thinks a wall will protect us.
Let that digest.
It’s been 20 years since 5-year-old me deemed walls useless.
15 years since the walls challenged me at recess.
It’s been 10 years since in school I grew restless.
9 years since I learned no walls could deny me access.
It’s been 5 years since I found walls couldn’t impede social progress.
A grown man boasts of the walls “great” success
Doesn’t acknowledge that barriers speed up creative progress
His tactics aim to cause social distress
He underestimates the power his pupils possess.
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A teacher of mine in high school told my class to put up dividers around our desks and then passed out M&Ms to everyone. He asked everyone to organize them. After a few minutes he gets to my desk and sees that I have made a sun and a tree out of the colors I had been given. Laughing, he asked everyone to see how their neighbor had organized their M&Ms. Everyone had organized them into color columns or blobs. He points to mine and says “everyone does things a little differently, and we can all be right.”
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