Categories
Poetry

Oh, I’m Fine (Dammit!)

“Where have I been?”
I used to wonder.
Was it a rock
or someone’s spell that I been under.
Don’t wanna knock my people, but
we closed as doors.
And the stench up in this bitch
we simply can’t ignore.
No more!
I’m no ostrich,
though I been ostracized —
kept out, curb-kicked, marginalized.
But living in the margins,
I have realized
a knack for the edit;
if I let it, this old world may be revised.

So I speak,
just a little at first,
just enough to tweak
those feedback frequencies,
amplified out of proportion
to their true value in relation
to the spectrum of expression
that, yes, they, too, have a place in.

Too meek.
Too mild.
Too many memes minded too deeply as a child.
Too much home-trainin’.
Too tame;
there’s beauty in the wild!
Unappreciated glory
that would shine from within,
but for the tarnish of this (so-called)
civilization’s story

I’ve been wearing like my shame,
a patchwork of “N”s
in a design tailored to lame me.
It’s not my feet in the bind, and yet
mobility is hindered,
‘specially when I climb.
And when I fall,
tearing the seams,
muddy and bloody, I blame me.

Hard knocks —
not a school,
but a block
I was raised on
then chopped
off, disconnected.
Unplugged from my cause,
how could I have an effect? It’s
all in my mind,
but the thoughts being projected
to surround me are carefully,
strategically, selected
to remind me of the roles at my disposal
to play: Amos or Andy,
Fred Sanford or his son,
Rerun or Roger.
Each one with one standard problem to solve:
There’s a wall;
the door’s a revolver
that slams — bam! —
in each new face to come along,
unless it sings the right song,
makes the right jest,
commits to keeping to its own place,
swallows its pride or otherwise placates

the beast that resides on the other side,
not hiding, merely lying
in wait, wantonly biding its time,
taking it so torturously slow,
prolonging the life that suffers the most
for its sadistic pleasure.
All cleverness aside,
this shit sucks.
Fuck!
I’d really like to survive,
but it’s just my luck,
a webwork of watchful eyes,
the ambiguity of my peace signs,
and the element of surprise
that keep this black man
cultivating his integrity
alive.

By Kwame Kamau

Kwame has been making music from earliest remembrance, and writing since the onset of adulthood. Lately, he's taking up web development and inspiring the next generation of inner-city youth to code.