In the army, I often wrote letters for my fellow comrades for a price. They would tell me the story and I would put them in words. It was a good hustle for me to make a little extra money. I would write poems for their ladies or wives for special occasions.
You know I liked doing it but I never did make copies to keep for myself.
Now, the education system was a very pleasant experience until about the sixth grade for me when I learned that black people were slaves to white people in our social studies classes. That was a defining moment for my educational experience because of the way it was taught. It really threw me for a loop as I went home crying to my mother. But she explained to me that the truth, if you will seek, you will find, and that will make you free. But from then on, I lost some faith in the American education system. As I learned later in life, it was all based upon the theory of white supremacy. For the facts that lead to truth were purposely left out of the mix to deprive black people of their righteous place in history and robbed white people of their truth in history. The school system was one of the two major vehicles by which the white people claimed themselves as superior and the black people as inferior. The other was religion, and together as a double edge sword, they still continue to put enmity between the different peoples and cultures of the world.
I did not give up on my learning experience and started to read other materials such as magazines, comics, and biographies of great men of color, especially sports figures. But the number one thing that I used to learn how to read better was the sports page of the L.A. Times. I would read that section from front page to back page every morning before school. But in school, poetry was my most favored reading. I liked the rythming of words as well as the message.
I think it was related to another love of mine as a child and that was music and dancing. It didn’t take long for me memorize the lyrics of a song as we danced along, singing aloud, as if we were endowed, with a gift from heaven above, with that special kind of love. That was the ultimate fun as a young man growing up to meet the girls. To write little poems to your girlfriends was what I liked most.
The poetry of greeting cards was my cup of tea after my education experience on our family festivities and celebrations. I would add my own poems to the cards on these occasions. The family and friends always seemed to like them so very much, always complimenting and encouraging me to write more. But I did not pursue poetry much as I continued my quest for facts in pursuit of truth.
When my marriage ended in divorce in the early 1980s, it was music and poetry that brought joy and peace within. That’s when my writing of poetry increased and my perspective about other things expanded. As a single man again, it was very interesting living the single life.
Now, I have been married for 18 years, living the family life called the American dream with grand children and all the wrappings and trappings that go with it. But I don’t mind one little bit because most of us should be graceful for the material life this land has produced despite its inequities. For the horizon does not look as favorable for our future generations that must cope with the mess we have left for them in the physical, mental, and spiritual planes of life.