ChalleNGe (March 1999)

young and older
tolerably bolder
striving to touch
a piece of the gold
not asking for much
just a touch

grown down from the playground
clubs, streets, or hallways
built them up in other days
adult to child to adult again
ending to begin again
peeling egos and pride
not just here for the ride

momentary rebellions
commentary from hellions
morphed by boredom
strive for freedom
not from oppression
but from regression
forward always
open doorways
let them pass

they’ve seen nothing
they’ve seen everything
warrants pending
young lives ending
a little girl shamed
a little boy tamed
by the knuckles of the father
why should we bother
stepping in the shadows
of each one’s life blows?

if cycles recycle
the drug of the mother’s
the drug of the brother
the pain of the sister
is some other mister’s

or maybe just self-esteem
or lack of a full home team
peer pressure?
fear measures
each new stone in the road
each new weight to the load
too much romance
can’t stay in their pants
filled with rap and rants
underage drinking
not enough thinking
lack of popularity
or too much hilarity
don’t play sports
’cause they don’t like the gym shorts

chance is the magic
to face off the tragic
burn down the failure
if you post the bail you’re
lending confidence
denting the offense
opening a window
to let fresh air flow
shaking the dust from
dreams that will come
out from the inside
where they were left to hide
not long ago

turning it around
boots pounding on the ground
beating out the cadence sound
efforts to become the crown
of their own new kingdom

making what’s theirs more
started from the ground floor
rocking with brilliance
shining self reliance
standing on their own two
what can they not do?

crossing the finish line
i give you class 1-99.