This is something I wrote about an athlete that went to the high school where I taught. He was a talented kid with a bright future and I knew from different people in his life about the things that he was going through personally and how they were adversely affecting his journey in life. I saw him one day after he had graduated and for some reason this writing came to mind right away. It took me a short period of time to write it because if I had had the chance to actually talk to him at that moment I may have been able to express the things that I hoped would happen positively in his life....but I didn't get that chance so I wrote it and years later I have no idea where he is or what has become of his life but maybe at some point he will see this and know that there were many people who believed in his potential...even when he may not have and hopefully somewhere now he is living that potential in some way..So my message to Devin (written in 2006)
Devin...I saw you the other day
and wish I could have removed the sadness from my throat
long enough to tell you it was good to see you are doing ok
I just waved in silence
it only seems like yesterday
when we were watching the world trying to hold this young soldier
tucked safely under our wings...
yet it didn't matter how hard we tried
your journey needed to be baptized and testified
like runaways turned prodigal sons
like in the strength of your stride
you couldn't hide the fact that you were a form of God's prize
and you ran
ran for all the those whose life shackles were too tight for them to have a chance
to fight for their way through these struggles...
you didn't need to be identified by all the stereotypes of being a young black male
all you were given was the torch for the world's stifled voices
and you had to always feel the pressure in all the opportunities to embrace life's gains
yet you ran like God had called you to take his reigns
we would watch
hope waiting to leave our lips
your passion carrying life through our veins
at all those friday night games
our love for your light
praying that with all the pain and misfortunes handed your way
our faith in you would make things right
yet still as I think about you wandering those street corners
painful reminders of your need to fight held tight around your neck
skin with tattooes of all the wounds that you have allowed to heal your heart...
I wish I could take away those impressions of life's unfair deeds
that brought you from running freely to weakened knees and false starts
and place on your feet new shoes that our ancestors could have used
when their skin was the palate for the abused
and I would have told you to run for them..
for young brothas that never had any direction
be their protection so they can look at you and realize
that they don't have to empower the prison and bars
of a past thats seen them exploited with anger, oppression and dope...
run with their pain and broken spirits so they can be re-educated in hope...
Run with reassurance that no obstacle in this life can change the destiny
reason you have been placed on this earth...
hold onto the passion that keeps you moving
know that is what gives you worth...