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Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya;

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid beacon, has died
One of the best-known political prisoners of his generation,
South Africa's first black president, He was 95.
His struggle against apartheid and racial segregation
Lead to the vision of South Africa as a rainbow nation
In which all folks were to be treated equally regardless of color
Speaking in 1990 on his release from Pollsmoor Prison
After 27 years behind bars, Mandela posited;
I have fought against white ******* and
I have fought against black *******
I have cherished the idea of a democratic
And a free society in which all persons live together
In harmony and with equal opportunity
It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve
But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die,

Fortunately, he was never called upon
To make such a sacrifice
And the anti-apartheid campaign did produce results
A ban on mixed marriages between whites and folks of color,
This was designed to enforce total racial segregation
Was lifted in 1985
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918
His father Gadla named him "Rolihlahla,"
Meaning “troublemaker” in the Xhosa language
Perhaps  parental premonitions of his ability to foment change.
Madiba, as he is affectionately known
By many South Africans,
Was born to Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa,
a chief, and his third wife Nosekeni *****
He grew up with two sisters
In the small rural village of Qunu
In South Africa's Eastern Cape Province.
Unlike other boys his age,
Madiba had the privilege of attending university
Where he studied law
He became a ringleader of student protest
And then moved to Johannesburg to escape an arranged marriage
It was there he became involved in politics.
In 1944 he joined the African National Congress (ANC),
Four years before the National Party,
Which institutionalized racial segregation, came to power
Racial segregation triggered mass protests
And civil disobedience campaigns,
In which Mandela played a central role
After the ANC was banned in 1961
Mandela founded its military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe
The Spear of the Nation
As its commander-in-chief,
He led underground guerrilla attacks
Against state institutions.
He secretly went abroad in 1962
To drum up financial support
And organize military training for ANC cadres
On his return, he was arrested
And sentenced to prison
Mandela served 17 years
On the notorious Roben Island, off Cape Town,
Mandela was elected as South Africa's first black president
On May 10, 1994
Cell number five, where he was incarcerated,
Is now a tourist attraction
From 1988 onwards, Mandela was slowly prepared
For his release from prison
Just three years earlier he had rejected a pardon
This was conditional
On the ANC renouncing violence
On 11 February 1990,
After nearly three decades in prison,
Mandela, the South African freedom beacon was released
He continued his struggle
For the abolition of racial segregation
In April 1994,
South Africa held its first free election.
On May 10,
Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first elected black president,
Mandela jointly won
The Nobel Peace Prize
With Frederik de Clerk in 1993
On taking office
Mandela focused on reconciliation
Between ethnic groups
And together with Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
He set up the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
To help the country
Come to terms
With the crimes committed under apartheid
After his retirement
From active politics in 1999,
Madiba dedicated himself
To social causes,
Helping children and ***-AIDS patients,
His second son
Makgatho died of ***-AIDS
In 2005 at the age of 54,
South Africans have fought
a noble struggle against the apartheid
But today they face a far greater threat
Mandela he posited in a reference to the ***-AIDS pandemic,
His successor
Thabo Mbeki
The ANC slogan of 1994; A better life for all
Was fulfilled only
For a small portion of the black elite
Growing corruption,
Crime and lack of job prospects
Continue to threaten the Rainbow Nation,
On the international stage
Mandela acted as a mediator
In the Burundi civil war
And also joined criticism
Of the Iraq policy
Of the United States and Great Britain
He won the Nobel Prize in 1993
And played a decisive role
Into bringing the first FIFA World Cup to Africa,
His beloved great-granddaughter
Zenani Mandela died tragically
On the eve of the competition
And he withdrew from the public life
With the death of Nelson Mandela
The world loses a great freedom-struggleer
And heroic statesman
His native South Africa loses
At the very least a commanding presence
Even if the grandfather of nine grandchildren
Was scarcely seen in public in recent year

Media and politicians are vying
To outdo one another with their tributes
To Nelson Mandela, who himself disliked
The personality cult
That's one of the things
That made him unique,
Nelson Mandela was no saint,
Even though that is how the media
Are now portraying him
Every headline makes him appear more superhuman
And much of the admiration is close to idolatry
Some of the folks who met him
Say they felt a special Mandela karma
In his presence.
Madiba magic was invoked
Whenever South Africa needed a miracle,

Mandela himself was embarrassed
By the personality cult
Only reluctantly did he agree to have streets
Schools and institutes named after him
To allow bronze statues and Mandela museums
To be built
A trend that will continue to grow.

He repeatedly pointed
To the collective achievements
Of the resistance movement
To figures who preceded him
In the struggle against injustice
And to fellow campaigners
Such as Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Luthuli
Or his friend and companion in arms
Oliver Tambo who today stands in Mandela's shadow,
Tambo helped create the Mandela legend
Which conquered the world
A tale in which every upright man
And woman could see him
Or herself reflected,
When Prisoner Number 46664 was released
After 27 years behind bars
He had become a brand
A worldwide idol
The target of projected hopes
And wishes that no human being
Could fulfill alone,
Who would dare scratch?
The shining surface of such a man
List his youthful misdemeanors
His illegitimate children
Who would mention his weakness for women?
For models
Pop starlets
And female journalists
With whom he flirted
In a politically incorrect way
When already a respected elder statesman?
Who would speak out critically?
Against the attacks
He planned when he headed the ANC
Armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe
And who would criticize the way
He would often explode in anger
Or dismiss any opinions other than his own?
His record as head of government
Is also not above reproach
Those years were marked by pragmatism
And political reticence
Overdue decisions were not taken
Day to day matters were left to others
When choosing his political friends
His judgment was not always perfect
A Mandela grandchild is named
After Colonel Muammar Gaddaffi
Seen from today's perspective
Not everything fits
The generally accepted
Picture of visionary and genius,
But Mandela can be excused
These lapses
Because despite everything
He achieved more than ordinary human beings
His long period of imprisonment
Played a significant role here
It did not break him, it formed him
Robben Island
Had been a university of life for Mandela once posited
He learned discipline there
In dialogue with his guards
He learnt humility, patience and tolerance
His youthful anger dissolved
He mellowed and acquired
The wisdom of age
When he was at last released
Mandela was no longer
Burning with rage,
He was now a humanized revolutionary
Mandela wanted reconciliation
At almost any price
His own transformation
Was his greatest strength
The ability to break free
From ideological utopia
And to be able to see the greater whole
The realization
That those who think differently
Are not necessarily enemies
The ability to listen,
To spread the message of reconciliation
To the point of betraying what he believed in,
Only in this way could he
Serve as a role model
To both black and white humanity
, communists and entrepreneurs,
Catholics and Muslims.
He became a visional missionary,
An ecclesiast of brotherly love
And compassion
Wherever he was, each humanity was equal
He had respect for musicians and presidents
Monarchs and cleaning ladies
He remembered names
And would ask about relatives
He gave each humanity his full attention
With a smile, a joke, a well aimed remark,
He won over every audience
His aura enveloped each humanity,
Even his political enemies,
That did not qualify him
For the status of demi-god
But he was idolized and rightly so
He must be named in the same breath
As Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama
Or Martin Luther King
Mandela wrote a chapter of world history
Even Barack Obama posited
He would not have become
President of the United States
Without Mandela as a role model,

And so it is not so important
That Mandela is now portrayed
Larger than life
The fact that not everything
He did in politics succeeded is a minor matter
His achievement is to have lived
A life credibly characterized
By humanism, tolerance and non-violence,
When Mandela was released
From prison in 1990,
The old world order of the Cold War era
Was collapsing
Mandela stood at the crossroads and set off in the right direction
How easily he could have played with fire, sought revenge,
Or simply failed; He could have withdrawn from public life or,
Like other companions in arms, earned millions,
Two marriages failed because of the political circumstances
His sons died tragically long before him
It was only when he was 80 and met his third wife,
Graca Machel,
That he again found warmth,
Partnership and private happiness,
Setbacks did not leave him bitter
Because he regarded his own life
As being less important
Than the cause he believed in
He served the community humbly,
With a sense of responsibility
Of duty and willingness to make sacrifices
Qualities that are today only rarely encountered,

How small and pathetic his successors now seem
Their battles for power will probably now be fought
Even more unscrupulously than in the past
How embarrassing are his own relatives
Who argued over his legacy at his hospital bed
Mandela was no saint
But a man with strengths and weaknesses,
Shaped by his environment
It will be hard to find a greater person
Just a little bit more Mandela every day
Would achieve a great deal
Not only in Africa
But in the bestridden geographies
Epochs and diversities of man,

In my post dirge I will ever echo words of Mandella
He shone on the crepuscular darkness of the Swedish
Academy, where cometh the Nobel glory;
Development and peace are indivisible
Without peace and international security
Nations cannot focus
On the upliftment
Of the most underprivileged of their citizens.
Allen Ginsberg  Jun 2009
America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January
        17, 1956.
I can't stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go **** yourself with your atom bomb.
I don't feel good don't bother me.
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I
        need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not
        the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back
        it's sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical
I'm trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I'm doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday
        somebody goes on trial for ******.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid
        I'm not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses
        in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right.
I won't say the Lord's Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven't told you what you did to Uncle
        Max after he came over from Russia.

I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by
        Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Business-
        men are serious. Movie producers are serious.
        Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven't got a chinaman's chance.
I'd better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of
        marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable
        private literature that goes 1400 miles an hour
        and twenty-five-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of
        underprivileged who live in my flowerpots
        under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers
        is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that
        I'm a Catholic.
America how can I write a holy litany in your silly
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as
        individual as his automobiles more so they're
        all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500
        down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Com-
        munist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a
        handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
        speeches were free everybody was angelic and
        sentimental about the workers it was all so sin-
        cere you have no idea what a good thing the
        party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand
        old man a real mensch Mother Bloor made me
        cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody
        must have been a spy.
America you don't really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen.
        And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power
        mad. She wants to take our cars from out our
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Readers'
        Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia.
        Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta-
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read.
        Him need ******* *******. Hah. Her make us
        all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in
        the television set.
America is this correct?
I'd better get right down to the job.
It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes
        in precision parts factories, I'm nearsighted and
        psychopathic anyway.
America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

                                Berkeley, January 17, 1956
we take the justice we can get

every one is expendable i’m opening a new chic bistro prior guests will be listed on the menu we slice dice prepare any way you like sushi deep fried mesquite oven grilled baked accessories make the dish ginger pickles lime asparagus mustard and a drizzle of wine deer ***** cider mole sauces i haven’t decided yet on restaurant décor possibly post-modern austere but please write in suggestions everything must be totally freshly tossed killed tableside i want the kitchen immaculate industrial sized everything yet we roast minuscule tidbits frivolous details infused with essences reduction bio-molecular cuisine an entire 20 course meal in a tear drop obviously presentation is everything Channel Comme des Garcons Lamborghini will design plate arrangement after you’ve enjoyed a lavish sumptuous meal you become edible i mean eligible to provide for more recent patrons please hold still while the knife carves and oh how about those miners in Chile real theater i just read NASA’s Kepler satellite is selecting candidates for earth’s substitute the article repeatedly used the word candidates let’s just totally waste this place the faster we trash the world the sooner we get a new planet best weekly performance British Petroleum gulf oil debacle second best Hillandale Farms incredible salmonella egg

comedy tragedy dialogue

COMEDY come sit closer let’s share a laugh want to hear a joke

TRAGEDY i hate jokes

COMEDY you’re funny

TRAGEDY shut up you freaking clown

COMEDY there’s more to me than clowning

TRAGEDY oh yeah (pause) what? you pandering fool (pause) in my eyes every winking snicker is compromise collusion there’s nothing about you i like

COMEDY hater (pause) man you’re mean

TRAGEDY mean and unreasonable

COMEDY scary mean unreasonable (pause) yet funny

TRAGEDY ***** you (pause) mortality is tragic the world is wicked what’s funny about stoning people to death or ****** disfiguring women children or cheating enslaving the poor underprivileged this earth is a horrible place what the hell is so funny

COMEDY you you’re a joke a sad dismal joke the good news is i interpret humor in everything life is funny

TRAGEDY you’re a pitiful simpleton who perceives all existence from one lame brain viewpoint you can’t distinguish happy from sad good from evil you’re a mindless empty screen of canned laughter maybe some things aren’t meant to be laughed at or humor drawn from maybe you’re a rude mocking idiot what is so ******* funny

COMEDY what is so ******* funny (pause) i’m not laughing (pause) try stepping back getting a different perspective change your psychology consider the futility of existence fate of humankind

TRAGEDY we all do what we have to (pause) mind if i smoke (lights a cigarette)

COMEDY that’ll **** you (smirks laughter)

TRAGEDY we’re all fated to die

COMEDY you really need to see the absurdity in your gloom

TRAGEDY please go

COMEDY why do you have to be such a hard-*** why can’t we just get along we could create some wonderful art i really think we’d be good together

TRAGEDY i warning you

COMEDY i get the feeling we’re not going to be friends

TRAGEDY fast thinking (pause) go play with your happy snickering friends and leave me alone

COMEDY must we be enemies

TRAGEDY deal with it

COMEDY you’re going to miss me

TRAGEDY maybe maybe not (pause) these are dark troubled times

COMEDY why must everything be so serious with you

TRAGEDY if you persist i will be forced to turn this banter into regrettable disaster

COMEDY funny how things don’t work out

TRAGEDY yeah funny (pause) i guess the joke is on me

fate free will dialogue

FATE we each journey a path

FREE WILL i choose my own trail imaging myself triumphant inventing as i go

FATE what if you discovered your choices were influenced by forces outside you

FREE WILL i alone am responsible for my choices

FATE i’m not speaking about responsibilities

FREE WILL what are you speaking of

FATE there are aspects you may not realize

FREE WILL that’s ******* a person creates his or her own destiny

FATE do you believe Jesus Christ created his own destiny or John F. Kennedy Martin Luther King John Lennon

FREE WILL what are you saying

FATE there were circumstances cycles aspects forces possibly predetermined powers events ghosts

FREE WILL horseshit we are presented with existential choices our actions determine our destiny

FATE our actions determine our destiny huh what influences determine our actions

FREE WILL a person’s character courage discipline strength

FATE what forms a person’s character

FREE WILL parents circumstances cycles aspects forces the era

FATE hmmm near to what i was suggesting yet who can know why or how a few chosen make it while many others go bust or when where lightning strikes

FREE WILL so what do you believe? (pause) i’m speculating most people obey conform deaf to their own calling falling short of their dreams enduring lives of hushed disquiet

FATE hmmm we each journey a path

FREE WILL i choose my own trail inventing as i go alert to my calling

FATE uhhh i’m not as certain as you i admire your confidence conviction independence

FREE WILL hey i’m straight

FATE whatever
Senor Negativo Jul 2012
Every night the underprivileged will be lifted up by the privileged.

Every night the rich will have everything right to eat, but the poor.

Every night the homeless will have nowhere left to sleep, but our old carpeted floor.

Every night scicle cell anemia will have everywhere right to be contained,
including your city heart snooker.

Every night peace will have everywhere to be passive,
including your japanese zen gardens,

Everyone will be right to make peace with us,
but our unkempt sons.

Every night the proletariat will sleep ignoring the foremen descending their picket fences,

Every serious thief will be rejected as a nightmare-

For they are owed nothing, and must reject everything more
than The Othello denial an ounce of starved soul.

They will lament, as we cool our overheated hearts,
on the pristine grounds of our single rooms.

And they will lament, as we lounge on the branches of our stoic oaks,
decomposing birthday songs for the Bad young nights of the wicked little girls…
Faith Ellen Ross Nov 2014
Sleep is a thing for the weak… the underprivileged youth of America. It’s for those who do not have any true grit. Something the busy and spontaneous folk do not acknowledge. We have no need for it. We have our drugs, our energy, and our freedom.
JRF Jul 2016
Stand Up for Equality

Guess what?
You can be white
and hungry and

You can be African American, Mexican, Asian, Indian... and on and on and
be hungry and underprivileged.

We are all in this place.
We are all human
and struggling
and wanting so much more.

So let's do it.
Let's break down these walls-no, we won't build them.

Let us break down these walls and embrace our humanity and our inherent love for one another.

Let's just give each other a helping hand for once.
Let's all just stand up
for each other.

Let us just stand up
for love
and kindness.
Let us
stand up.
...and nothing could be more true right now. Stand up for love and kindness. Every one of us deserves it. Vote for love and kindness-don't vote out of fear and ugliness. Vote for a love for humanity and our inherent goodness.
Trevor Gates Jul 2013
The Obsidian Theater XV.

Welcome to my nightmare
Welcome to my show
The audience awaits your praise
And your stage light glow

My, my, it’s been too long.

[Walks across stage; light follows. Curtains pulled]

Where have all of you been?

[Audience laughter]

Oh, forgive me, that’s not the right question
To ask

Where have we been?

That’s more fitting


Sipping Champagne with Bing Crosby among undead poets
With a casket made for two
“Brother can you spare a dime?”
He said,
“Lift me from this tribal paradigm.”


For many days I wandered the wilderness in the threads of
My carnivalesque grandfather
Ripping and tearing in the clinging trees
Hands of branches
Groping and pulling the garments off my body

In the middle of the Serbian wilderness was The Manor
Draped in dead trees and blackened ice

The valet stood at the gate in prime condition

But for who?

“Why, you sir.” He told me, guiding me through the entrance, to the front door.

And inside were wonders to be held by the
muster of my weakened eyes

Ladybug dancers tossing their legs up to *****-tonk fanfare
Swirling magicians pulling rabbits and naked men from the shadows

Allegorical usurpers coated in a filmy residue of
Herzog dreams
Lynch fantasies

Perpetuated by my longing
My lost soul
My parched thirst
My growling stomach
My throbbing manhood
My forgotten affliction
And severed diction

A man slivering into the skin of a woman
A Lady donning the cowl of a man

Skins shivering with afterglow effects

And dreams woven by old witches with intestinal thread

It was eloquent darkness in the belly of the manor
Fit for a King of Devilish glamor

Brothers of Grimm
Sisters of Mercy

Told from the pages

From the books

Of frozen Gods
And forgotten Titans

These are the happenings of a great story
Fiction or not
You may tell it
And believe what you will

It doesn’t matter as long as it is strongly retold

From the lips of another

The wandering bard
The pub crawling drunkard
The enamored *****
Bookworm report
It needs
To be shared
To others
Even impaired
To celebrate

My impeccable, capable
Hands-down sensational
Tour de force
A la mode

Cherries on top of whipped screams and drinks
Juggling heads and animals over coals of fire
Give them a show
Give them a feat
Give them something to remember
Give them something to crawl back to
Give them a performance that will beckon the applause
For years to come
Show your audience
And readers love
The likes of which
Cannot be equaled
Or even compared to
Of silly-billy pud muffins
And their
Street-smart guff

Let the institution of your mind become a corporal being
Teasing and pleasing those eager and waiting eyes
Staring up at you with

Don’t you want to see a show worth seeing?

[Audience cheers; laughs and applauds]

Watch a movie worth seeing?

Read a book worth reading?

How do you come by this?

Create what you’ve always wanted to see, read, watch and say.

Those performers
Once peasants and beggars

Stood up from the grime and ridicule of the trash and rose above the
To conquer their hearts

Look and see!

Those people balancing and singing with fluffy dogs
Magicians and warlocks summoning spirits to dance among stars
Poets on stage reading mixed words to nodding peers
Directors blocking actors on stage with unparalleled enthusiasm
All these creatures of the ubiquitous night
Gather and produce
The whim of their lives

But many of these masters



The bus boys cleaning up after your meal
The mother alone at home with the kids
The unsociable man on the park bench
The frigid girl in the corner of the classroom
The nervous boy wandering the circus
The stern librarian in Brooklyn
The blogger in the studio apartment
The hard working abroad student on a farm
The homeless man cradling a dying dog
The celebrity chasing photographer
The undergraduate tutor
The ignored substitute teacher
The bullied Muslim student
The underprivileged south side coach
The Turkish cab driver

More and more

These warrior poets and victims to racial slurs
Commonwealth bigotry
Ghetto endorsements
Faulty criticisms

From hosting countries

And sheltered, over-privileged, disillusioned



Religious figures

Dogs of War

Angels of retribution

Demons of industry

Ghosts of the hours and days past
To sympathize and cry for the world
Thrown into invisible and subtle chaos
Like an ocean littered with the blades of
Broken glass
The sludge toxic waste mixed in molten lava over craters of dead bodies
The sand dust covering the thousands of bodies in the earth


What teams won the World Series?
Which movie star dates who?
What’s the latest trending diet?
What new pop sensation has been manufactured?
What new insult can talk show hosts say?
Is there someone new to blame for all the bad things in the world?

What are the things the media has told you?
The things it hasn’t?

It’s a
Bitter sweet symphony

Crucible for the faceless grins
Pointing fingers everywhere but themselves

Let’s leave the worries to our kids
I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
Allow me to thank my esteemed colleagues: Meryl Streep’s skeleton, Freddie Mercury’s ghost, Doc Hammer, George C. Scott, Doctor Emmett Brown, Marty McFly, Easter Eggs, internet message board administrators, Robert Redford, Aviator sunglasses, Don Cheadle, The Coen Brothers, the Dukes of Hazzard, Billy *** Thorton, Hammerfall, Saxon, Klaxons, Lou Reed, Spike Jonze, Michael Gondry, Guts, Son Goku, Tinkerball ***** force, the Die Nasties, The Iron Maidens, Judas Priestess, The Runaways
And many more I simply don’t have time to mention.

Now Get out of my theater.
I can't study
What I want to
Because I have no money
My course
Isn't eligible
For government loans
I can't get a loan
From my bank
Of nearly six years
Because I'm self employed
I write this
In a futile attempt
To stop me from crying
As I
Curse my working class
Background and
**** my underprivileged past

No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No place
No future
No future
No future
I'm just a young man with no place, in a wealthy city.
Victoria Kiely Jan 2014
It was midday in London on an afternoon of early spring. The streets were flooded with equal parts rainwater and people as everybody rushed through their busy lives. People easily forgot to look up, and often failed to notice the change in scenery as the bus sped along.
He occupied two seats on a lonely street car travelling down Aberdeen. One seat held him tightly to the window that was to his left, the other was taken by his various possessions. With him, he carried his black, customary briefcase, his dripping umbrella that tied just below the halfway point, and the large tan trunk he had collected from the antique shop. They sat stacked on top of one another with the trunk serving as a base for the structure. Each time the street car emitted the gentle thud that accompanied the many bumps from the *** holes, he felt tense as he readied himself to catch the old umbrella.
His hair hung down to the side, dripping slowly from the rain into his eyes, and progressively further down his face. Hands shaking, lips blue, he looked down at his shoes. The holes were visible but unnoticeable. Slicks of water formed as he pressed his feet further down off of the seat. He had known for months now that these shoes were about finished, but he couldn’t seem to find the money to replace them. He had been late to pay the rent to his small apartment for the past three months.
“I just need another month,” he would begin. “Just another month, I swear. I have interviews with a few guys this week, they seem promising.” But there were truly very few interviews at all; in fact, he had found himself without work or word for months now.  Still he insisted that he would be able to find something, anything, to satisfy the rent for the coming month.
He had been a stock broker all his life. He had worked for companies varying in legality and prestige, all of which he had done well in. Throughout his twenties and thirties, he had maintained these jobs with fewer problems than he had had in any other area of his life. Until the stock market crash, he had been successful in all aspects. After the crash, however, nobody trusted stocks or stock brokers. He had found himself without business within days.
Although he had grown to loath the occupation over time because of all of the lying, the indecency and the equivocation, he loathed his financial state more with each passing day. He was used to fine linen, tall ceilings and silver spoons. None of that had followed him to his new lifestyle. He could hardly afford the food that required the spoon now, anyway.
He looked out the window to the greying day littered with clouds. People milled about, blocking the rain with their arms. The street car came to a halt beside an old cinema.
A woman and her child emerged from the black awning that draped over the entrance of the theater. She held a newspaper over her daughters’ head, taking care to cover her so as not to get her wet. The mother laughed visibly and crossed in front of the street car holding her daughters hand. They boarded.
“How much for one ride each?” She asked the driver with a kind, simple voice that reminded the man of his mother.
“It’s three dollars for your ride, and I’ll let her on for free since it’s raining” The driver replied.
She looked down and smiled. “Thank you very much.”
She trailed her daughter along and sat a few rows ahead of him. She sat her daughter down first next to the window, and then continued to slid in next to her, taking the aisle seat. She pointed out the window and whispered something inaudible to her daughter – she giggled lightly. She continued, her smile growing, her daughters face mirroring her own. Finally, they each erupted in laughter. He had not heard one word they had said.
It was true that they seemed, in every sense, underprivileged, but it was just as clear that they were not poor. Neither felt sorry for themselves, neither seemed to care that they too had holes in their shoes, or that they hadn’t had the money for an umbrella. They laughed and smiled as though they were the ones who had had the fine linen, tall ceilings, or silver spoons.
At first glance, he had felt sorry for them – their ripped and wet clothing, their makeshift umbrella. It seemed now though, that the longer he looked at them, the more he seemed to realize the sad truth. It was he who had been poor his whole life, not the lowly people he once watched walking down the street through his office window, the type who sat in front of him on this very train.
He had never been married, as he was too busy with his work and ambitions. He had never known the joy of a child. He had missed so many opportunities to find the happiness that he saw in the woman before him. He also knew that he had never wondered about any of those people’s stories. He had never cared to.
His stop came and went, and still he watched the woman and her child. The woman sang nursery rhymes to the girl, squealing with joy and amazement, as the street car carried on. Finally, the woman pushed the button to signal the driver to stop. She stood and collected the few things she had brought with her, including a coat and the newspaper she had used previously. She took her daughters hand and exited the doors that hesitated, then shut tightly behind her.
Again the pavement began to pass beside him as he looked out the window. His eyes stirred, then focused on something resembling paper that had fallen to the ground recently; the edges were hardly damp on the soaked floor.
He slid into the seat kin to him, bent over, and picked up the slip of paper. He unfolded it and found it to be a picture of the woman and her child from moments before.
In the picture, the woman is sitting in a field with tall blades of grass that look as though they had not been cut for years. The light is dim, the sun is rising. Her teeth are showing in a brilliant smile, her face young and carefree. Her daughter, who must not have been more than two in this picture, sits in her lap, laughing at something that can’t be seen in the photograph. The mother is pointing to it, and the daughters eyes follow. In many ways, it looked like the scene he had just witnessed.
On the back of the photo in long, curled writing, he read her handwriting: “It is always darkest before dawn”.  With those six words, he knew that he had wasted much of his life in dedication to tangible riches, when the real treasures were those that you could not necessarily count or produce. By way of strangers in a lonely street car, one poor man had discovered value in things that do not hold worth.
Suburbia I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
Suburbia three hundred thousand dollars December 1, 2001.
The cost of living’s too high.
We’re all just waiting around to die.
Suburbia when will you unlock your gates?
You've thrown away the key.
You won't even bother to read me.
Suburbia when will you pay attention?
When will you remove your mask?
When will you fall apart?  
When will you fail to live up to your standards?
Suburbia why are you so ignorant?
Suburbia why don't you feel guilty for your privilege?
Suburbia when will you evict me?
I’m sick of your strict covenants.
Why can't I paint my house yellow?
Suburbia after all it is you and I who are white.
You’re sheltering me.
You made me want to paint my skin black.
Can you meet me half way?
Somewhere in between these walls and freedom.
I’m stuck in the middle and I can’t get out of you.
I don’t think I’ll make it out alive.
Will you release me?
Are you telling me the truth?
I will find it.
I refuse to give up.
Suburbia stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
Suburbia your welcome sign got painted over.
Your people have given you a new name.
Suburbia I am sentimental about your driveway on Sunday mornings.
Suburbia I used to be a Catholic when I was a kid and I am sorry.
Suburbia I have blamed you for my depression and I am not sorry.
I challenge you every chance I get.
I've written myself out of you for thirteen nights straight.
I lost my virginity on the first night I snuck out of your house.  
My mind’s been made up since then.
You should have seen me reading Thoreau at the edge of your lawn.
My English teacher thinks I'll write better poetry once I leave.
I won’t stay here for longer.
I have un-American dreams.
Suburbia I still haven’t told you what you did to me.
I'm addressing you.  
Are you going to let the covenants control your identity?
I’m obsessed with individualization.
You roll your eyes when I walk down the street.
I look you in the eyes and smile as you mock me.
Why so serious?
You’re corporate American greed. You are what your money can buy. Your identity is merely a label assigned to you at birth that you’ve been fighting with your whole life.
It occurs to me that I am suburbia.
I do not see my reflection when I look in the mirror.
You are rising against me.
I don’t stand a fighting chance.
I’d better quit while I’m ahead.
Everything I own fits inside this backpack.
So I packed my **** and left for home.
I say nothing about the prisons or the millions of underprivileged who can’t afford you who dwell under the Birmingham Bridge and graffiti littered highway signs.  
You abolished us.
I painted over you now I’m off to play tag with the streets.
My ambition is to feel at home there.
Suburbia how can I make you listen?
Suburbia let me go.
Why won't you let me move on?
I will continue like a white horse in the wild.
Suburbia I will not make the rent this month.
Suburbia free me from your bounds.
Suburbia save me.
Save our people.
They must not dive.
Suburbia I am the only white on the outside.
Suburbia when I was twelve my cousins took me to the ghetto to buy ******* and the sun was sticky and they told me not to keep their secrets.
I felt like a spy.
Suburbia you're no better at fighting the war on drugs.
Suburbia they're shooting up next door.
Suburbia I thought you were supposed to keep me safe.  
Suburbia you want to eat us alive. Your power's mad. You want to take
my neighbors life and keep me as your slave.
You want to put a price on people and places that were never yours to begin with.
You herd black sheep away from your borders.
Your big bureaucracy segregated and destroyed the land.
Suburbia this is quite serious.
Suburbia this is the impression I get from lurking outside your white picket fences.
Suburbia is this correct?
I'd better get right down to it.
It's true I don't support you.
Suburbia I've given you all and now I'm leaving.
Hussein Dekmak Dec 2018
To be touched by love,
is to feel a tsunami of joy running through your arteries,
and to be able to see the light through your wounds and suffering.

To be touched by love,
is to live on the lips of bliss and happiness,
and let your soul orbit around the beauty that is your surroundings

To be touched by love, is to have yourself drawn to befriend your
underprivileged neighbors, be inspired to start a conversation, sooth
their pain, and show them the way to a new dawn of hope and ingenuity.

To be touched by love, is to be able to
merge with every creation of this universe, becoming one, by speaking their languages, listening to their prayers, and sharing their songs.

Hussein Dekmak


— The End —