The Epitome

I am the Epitome…

I am he that was created when the void from an absence
was filled by a desire.  A desire that led to a belief
A belief that within me was the ability to develop the strength
Of that black “S” which is now embedded in my flesh
And with that I regress and again say
I am the Epitome.

See, no text book will ever define me,
Yet I am the perfect opposition to the accepted belief
Of what a young black man is supposed to be
Because within me stills burns a fire, cultivated by that same desire
That continues to cause me to choose to aspire
To be the anti-statistic.

Never a man to show me how to be a true man
A strong Mama always giving the best she had
But I heard it said a woman can’t raise a man
And yet, here I stand.

Statistics show that I’m supposed to be,
Incarcerated, in the streets or filling up a cavity somewhere six feet beneath
Yet here I stand again where I’m not supposed to be,
And doing everything anti-statiscally.
So believe me, I will not ask you to pardon or excuse me
For my confidence when I again speak,
That I am the Epitome.

I am the dream of a young boy looking at an empty picture frame,
Determined to become the image of what should be filling that void
I am the product of the resolve of a Granny who became Mama,
Who didn’t want to believe that statistically,
Her boy didn’t have a remote possibility
To be anything other than a product of circumstance,
And the solution to a problem where the likely probability,
Would see him gone before the age of twenty three.

I am hard work and strong willed, dark skin and confidence filled,
I am the provider, protector, producer, the partner,
And everything you would want yours to be
I am a true man, and if you think it too much of a hyperbole,
Then allow me to clarify beyond any shadow of your disbelief,
That I am…..THE Epitome

~J Sanders~

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I Am From

I am from the cracks and crumbles
in the concrete under the streetlights.
Born of the misgivings of a rebellious baby.
A baby who bore a baby way too early.
I am from the mountains and seas of red brick and chipped gray mortar,
the combination that made up the homes known as the projects
I am from the cloud of confusion that turned Granny into Mama,
as Mama became Barbara in the early developing mind of a mistake.

I am from the washed and rewashed sheets
hanging from the old clotheslines in the back yard.
From backyard, to backyard, to another backyard,
all with black plastic bag of clothes and youth in the trunk of a 1994 Ford Taurus.
I am from the memories of a new friend become lost friend become new friend,
And from new place to new place while traversing the maze of shelters hidden,
hidden like stations on the underground railroad.

I am from achy knees and worn down shoulders.
From bags & bruises under the eyes covered in chaffed makeup from crying.
I am from the dark black shades that did more than block the sunrays,
As they covered the weary eyes of a Mama so tired.

I am from the three bedrooms with three beds,
holding eights sets of feet and eight heads.
I am from the cracks and crumbles that became the foundation and support,
for the not yet strong enough young shoulders of a fourteen year old boy,
Becoming the man to lessen the burden of a Granny become Mama.