Being a mamma’s boy in a land filled with testosterone/
Being young, black and hungry treating knowledge like the meat on a chicken bone/
Not seduced by the street life/ rather telling my life to the the streets/ to the listening friends and foes/
Loving Edgar Allen Poe/ and poetry shows/ more than money/ clothes and hoes/

These were a few of the challenges that built my character/

Choosing the light in a time where the masses chose something dark/
Choosing art/ from the start/ while my peers sold crack rocks in Baisley Park/
Watching how many of the other kids had swede Pumas/ & shelled toe Adidas/ Before the days of Air Jordan/
& how none of that would even matter because my parents couldn’t afford them/

And even though they had and I didn’t/ I would say “I ain’t mad at ya”

I could keep rhyming words and format them skillfully/ but that would not exemplify the free nature of poetry/ Besides my mission is not to prove to anyone that I’m clever/ however/ I am here to testify in hopes that it brings us together/

It has come to my attention that there are many among us that are mentally fragile/ spiritually disconnected/ and sensitive to everything/

In all of my years of being on this planet/ In the last 10 years or so/ I have never heard a single sentence repeated as much as the one that says “I don’t feel comfortable”

Picture me saying that to an Aunt and Uncle who were high on cocaine/ or a mentor home from Vietnam with blood and foreign soil under his fingernails/
Picture me telling my Mother that I didn’t feel comfortable with wearing hand me downs to school/ or telling that to the bullies that would beat me up for wearing plaid pants instead of Lee Jeans with the patch on the back/
Picture me telling my Grandfather I was uncomfortable with the aggressive way he would pick the naps out of my afro with a pick that had stainless steel teeth/ Picture me telling him how it hurt so much I was actually scared of him/
Picture me not battling emcees in the lunchroom everyday/ because I was more scared of letting my friends down than I ever was of actually loosing a word contest/

Adversity builds character/

Now this is not an open letter to the new generation/ suggesting that there’s something wrong with how y’all get down/ in actuality/ this is a highlight on how far the pendulum has swung/

One generation/ fresh of the heels of no rights for women/ Jim Crow/ Dozens of leaders assassinations/ and segregation/ of course would raise their children like it’s a hard knock life/

So to me it makes sense that the following generation that came after/ ET phoned his home/ and could actually run a small business from their phone/ made millions finding a way to market controversy/ Called any attention “Being Thirsty” invented the word “swagger” and at the same time felt the most unworthy/

Perhaps the pendulum swung too far in both directions/ since both generations sees the other and says “That hurts me”

The differences in us may not be so obvious/ One generation was brought up on fear/ so they taught the next not to be scared/ and they still were because fear is a part of the process/ one of the differences is the new generation isn’t scared to tell us what they’re feeling/ the way we once feared our peers/

I’ll end this now simply by stating the obvious:

“Balance is the key”