‘Survivor’s Guilt’ Poem

  |  Topic: Atlanta Word Works, Education, General, Poetry
By Jolisa Brown

Don’t

Bat an eye. Fly

In the face of the place

From which you ascended. Curtsy and smile

As though you never attempted to flee,

And embrace

The new space though its

Prickles will often impale you and

Lick the saccharine wine turned Burgundy

As it leaks. You found your fate remains

Conjoined to the stratum you long ago rebuffed

So strike up a deal

With your Siamese twin, profess

Your love. Be black and

Be proud know

What that means, your history —

You know it, right? —

And know that you can’t be, will never be

One of them remember

At age 12 when you spurned  

The predictable ending, selected the high school on the other side of town

North of your own

And greater changes precipitously collapsed into place

Certain choices, no longer were yours to make, now

You’re here. Hands down

You’ll go far, jump high

And higher and you’ll be surprised

How far you’ll go

Listen to the voices that always have pre-empted your

Steps and keep taking, after all you’ve taken for so long

And remember…

It’s all for the best

Jolisa, 18, is a senior at the Westminster Schools Atlanta. She will be attending Rice University in the fall.

aww-open-mic-flyerThe next free Atlanta Word Works workshop is:

Fri. Jan 6, 5-7 p.m. at VOX, and Atlanta-area teens are invited. Click here to register.

For the Angry, Imperfect and Empowered
Oh, So My Same Black is Your Silver

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.