That We Can Be One Again

I am from golf clubs and carports.
I am from golden woods and rolling meadows.
I am from tall cities and
~   Revolutionary War encampments.
I am from the right way to do things,
~   from our way to do things,
~        from thing we don’t do.
I am from a place of two worlds,
~   a place of white and
~        black.
I am from a place where fathers build fences
~   in the minds of their sons.
I am from a place of fences that,
~   having been built up,
~        must now come
~            down.

The fences that hide us from danger and
~   over which we hurl destruction;
The fences that keep ours for ours and leave
~   theirs for theirs;
The fences that make us into
~   us and not us
~        and make not us
~            into them;
The fences that have cracks that
~   show us slivers of what we want to see
~        of them;
The fences that have rotten planks that
~   reveal views of what being
~        not us has wrought
~            on them
I am from a place of fences that,
~   having been built up,
~        must now come
~            down again.

All fences must now come down
~   that sprung up in the light of day or
~        in the dark of night.
All fences must now come down
~   that fathers fostered in sons,
~        that mothers nurtured in daughters.
All fences must now come down
~   that make us different, separate, apart,
~        cut off, left out,
~           alone.
All fences must now come down
~   that keep us us and
~        them them,
~            us and
~                not us.
All fences must now come down—
That we can be whole again.

 November 2012

 Note:

~   This was written following a workshop with Shá Cage and E.G. Bailey at the Minnesota Humanities Center, St. Paul, Minnesota at their incentive and upon their model. It will be used as part of the identity formation lesson that begins the Latino Youth Development Coalition College Essay Project to be conducted this coming winter. They will start with an I Am spoken-word poem. So, yes, this is intended as spoken-word, though I believe all poetry is meant to be spoken out loud; it is an immediate art, a performance art. Story and poetry are rooted in the oral origins of all literature. All literature comes most alive when read aloud—a hint perhaps that all literature should be read aloud. Writing is, after all, simply a recording of the spoken word.

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About Jay C Ritterson
If I say nothing, it might be that I have nothing to say.

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