I had a dream.
No, not a Dr. Martin Luther King’s
dream, but I searched for the mystery
of equality and justice and found
just us little black boys at the mercy
of big white boys in the House of Congress
preaching progress in a sweet disaster.
I woke to a nightmare of gravel
and dust-covered grass patches
inhabited by gangsters, losers,
and crackheads. Violence stemming
from corner feuds of buddah abusers
and kids in projects. I fell asleep
again with hoop dreams and nowhere
to practice. Crated rims and cardboard
backboards where the attractive girls
kept score with short shorts, modeled
and acted like actresses. Dope fiends
dance through the streets like zombies.
I couldn’t tell if I was dreaming, but
the school systems that charged tuition
offered no scholarships for the ‘hood
because apparently we paid no attention
nor listened. It had to be a nightmare
because without my permission I was
regarded as a nigger from the district, our
nation’s capital. In my dream, I’m 23
and have long lived past the time I wrote
my first will. At 21 they said we wouldn’t make
it, so they gave us slave reparations. We buy
the new Jordans with white bottoms and laces.
Decadence is what we represent. The only success
are the drug dealers and sellers because even
if we skipped school, professors were too afraid
to fail us. Awoken from my dream by intuition
I stumbled to my knees with hands clasped
asking the Lord to grant me a few key wishes.
At the end of the day I want to still be living
for he is a savior. I begged to be man
and not color. He spoke back saying
I don’t know what you’re talking about
and neither do you.
Whether in a dream or a nightmare, I replied,
race is involved. 3 points for the nigger,
$3 million for the network. Our skin
symbolizes our worth. In the media,
urban news emphasizes a gun before they
recognize the good in the community
along with the fun.
Only to repeat, re-run after re-run
with the rising of each new morning’s sun.
Donald Vincent is an emerging poet with an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. His poems deal with the will and perseverance of human nature. They discuss race, political and cultural commentary, relationships, love and loss. When we succeed, we forget things; in bad times, we forget things. These poems hope to illustrate just that.