Yesterday as I sat in the library reading “Go Tell It On The Mountain” by James Baldwin I began to reflect on the role that books have played in my life. Not just any books, but in particular African-American literature. Below is a self-reflective poem that delves into my love,hatred, and passion for the written word.

I tried to confine myself to the books on the shelves

But even Ralph Ellison didn’t know how invisible I felt

My hell couldn’t be confined to the spine of paperback novel

My trials and tribulations couldn’t be mitigated by a bottle

I read so much that the papercuts began to encapsulate my hands

As the plasma painted my pages a rusty colored red

I longed to tell the truth like Atticus Finch

But it seemed as if my mockingbird was bound to get lynched

My life’s oddysey is no greek epic

Nor is  it a full out tragedy

Although plenty times I felt like Othello from the World backstabbing me

My books became my refuge

As the deluge of criticisms began to destroy mental levees

I used sandbags of hope provided the Audacity of Hope

Cornel West protected me with Hope on a rope

Turning pages was like smoking dope

I became a junkie to the written word

Because life in the human realm no longer made sense

Books made me feel beloved

Even when I was the pariah of the public

I was still accepted into this rich community of people

Toni Morrison, James, Baldwin Nikki Giovani

Alice Walker, Alex Haley never failed me.

Even when my skies were grey Celie painted them purple

Even when they called me white, Richard Wright told me  that I was a black boy and a native son.

Langston Hughes reminded me not to be a raisin the sun.

I flip, flip, flip, flip, Flip pages till I flip out

I become one with the text to the point that I’m having sex with vowels and the consonants.

Somebody get me off of this continent I just want to live in words.

Books make me feel regal and it shields me from the evil

But when your young and educated public opinion is lethal

Please don’t inject me with the world’s needle.