Manhood

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 22:28 -- AJay

He was born into a world of 40’s and dope

He didn’t know his father and his mom smoked

Immediately after him came three others

Made by transient fathers and the same crackhead mother

Welfare was their cook and the rats were nannies

Goodwill was the mall providing diapers and jammies

Christmas was a myth and the Tooth Fairy was broke

But that’s just how life was in the ghetto

 

From the time he was five, he knew he was the man

Protecting his siblings from drugs and “boyfriends”

He’d walk them to school and help with homework

Before cooking dinner and doing housework

By the time he was seven, his grades were down under

For he was trying to do the jobs of a son and a mother

And his mom had begun something more effective

She'd shoot up often and leave her kids neglected

 

Deemed an idiot, the boy sought solace in books

He’d tell his siblings stories of princes and crooks

He’d read them novels about large parties and bold heroes

And take them places far away from the ghetto

Langston and Anne promised better tomorrows

Mother Goose and Aristotle assuaged their sorrows

For once, they didn’t worry about their penury

Listening to stories was their luxury

 

The boy entered middle school too quick

His siblings were still hungry and his mom was sick

So he got a job working in landscape

He was allergic to grass but the man always paid

He taught his sisters to cook so they wouldn’t go hungry

While he was out working trying to make more money

He couldn’t afford a gun so he learned to fight instead

He taught his younger siblings to use their heads

 

But although the boy tried to stay on track

He was often led astray by this and that

Sneaking out to parties while the babies were asleep

Caused his grades to take a leap

From honor roll to below the bar overnight

Social letters gave him a fright

But that wasn’t the only new development

An ex-girlfriend found out she was pregnant

 

Stuck at a crossroads, the boy faced a choice

Raise his seed like a man or run like a boy

After a long consideration, he went right and not left

His child’s mother agreed he would raise it best

Sacrificing leisure and fun for the new baby

The new man got an apartment and began saving

The baby came early so he took leave

Working to provide for his son’s needs

 

He was held back but that gave him time

To plan and schedule how to do things right

He employed sisters as sitters and paid them well

But still struggled to work, raise a kid, and excel

He spent his seventeenth birthday paying bills

While his “friends” were out getting girls and popping pills

A few months later, he watched twin brothers graduate

They were accepted to both UCLA and Ohio State

 

The first year was rough but the man managed

His childhood reading provided an academic advantage

Soon his grades jumped from D’s to A’s

He got a promotion and earned a nice raise

Colleges sought after him but he turned them all down

For he’d promised his son he’d always be around

When he was a senior, his mother died

Her sickness and addiction took her life

 

Through it all, the man somehow was able to find

A woman who could deal with his crazy life

She was immaculate, unlike any other

She treated him well and his son loved her

She’d been around for about two years

When the man decided he didn’t want her to disappear

So he worked and saved throughout the spring

And on her birthday, he presented to her a diamond ring

 

When his son was three, the man graduated

He’d sat on stage and tried to stop the nervous shaking

He’d earned his diploma along with several honors

Among many was him raising three scholars

Two siblings in college and one almost done

He’d found a better job and provided for his son

Using his computer, he’d graduate college

And he’d teach his son the same way, using prior knowledge

 

The ceremony started and it was beautiful

Out of 120 seniors, 100 were successful

Petals fell from trees and showered the gathering

Even Mother Nature was smiling and happy

When the man’s name got called, he received his Heisman

He’d love to do something immature but he just sits like a wise man

While an old English teacher praises the man’s prose

The crowd chanted for a speech so the man rose

 

The crowd hushed but the man had nothing to say

No wise advice the crowd could take away

For a minute, the man almost panics

He studders and his heart becomes manic

He is just about to give up when he hears

“Hi Daddy,” from his son in his chair

The man smiles and waves back

His heart calms and his mind relaxes

 

Still at the podium in silence

The man opens his mouth and begins very quiet

But as passion arrives, his words become loud

Until his soul is sitting among the crowd

As short as Gettysburg and equally eloquent

His speech only held them for a minute

“My son,” he said, “My son right there,”

“He’s the reason I’m standing here.”

 
This poem is about: 
My community

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