i keep saying, i don’t know where to start
where do i go?
who do i talk to?
but then i have excuses
my kids
no car
no money
no time
i’m sick
i feel out of place
and i wonder about myself

i wonder
how committed am i
to the struggle
of my people?
do i really
feel the pain?

i walk through life
taking things for granted
twist the tap
and out comes clean water
flip a switch
and on come the lights
bookshelves full of books
(and i can read them
maybe even a few MP3s

i am blessed
with my health
and safety
i complain about the cold
while sleeping under
2 quilts
on a bed
in room
in a house of my own
when i know that people shiver
in the alleys
in the streets
with nothing but newspaper
covering their feet

how can i help?
what must i sacrifice?
can i be down with the people
and still live my pampered life?

you call me selfish
so why does my heart bleed
when i see the starving masses
and feel guilty
for my fat?

i know
that it’s bigger than me
but it can start with me
and flow from me
and grow with me
until me

we have
the opportunity
the responsibility
to reach back
and pull up
someone staring at our back
if the road before us
was never paved
would we know where to go?

i might sound preachy
when i’m talking to myself
but am i talking to you?
does that mean
you’re listening?
are you thinking
of how to help
someone who has less
than yourself?

from where i stand
we’re all in this together
black red brown
zebra striped
with magenta toes
and a shock of blue hair
(and in the dark
it glows!)

i wonder about myself
and then
i look at you

i look at you
and dislike what i see
the fancy clothes
riding in the
fancy car
with the steering wheel TV
with all 9 kids
in 6 different places
how you opted for gold
and bloods diamonds
instead of education
how you spit on the homeless
and terrorize the elderly
and blame the victim
for your
i look at you
do you see me?

you laugh at my
simple clothing
head covering
constant prayer
no pork chop having
call my mother
you make fun of my books
congratulate me for
treat me like a unicorn
or last surviving member
of an alien nation
because i have forgotten more
then you will ever know

i wonder about us
what do we have in common
should i even be concerned
when i see you trip and flounder?

this is my stress
what keeps me up at night
do i help someone
who refuses
my help?
do i turn my attention
to the world far from home
where actual gratitude
will be dispensed for my actions?
do i stay and fight
in my own neighborhood
stop the thugs from taking over
or drop it all
and run for cover?


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