here i am at the united way of delaware’s annual meeting. they invited me to come perform for them yesterday in wilmington, de to help re-inspire their board members and supporters.
i’m sorta giving the “did you take the picture yet” face in this one. oh well.
i had a great time and everyone loved my poems. i will paste my live united poem at the end of this post.
here i am on stage in front of the blue brick background where i was performing. not sure if this is a better pic or not.
i had a lot of fun and made some great contacts. the event was held right on the river at the delaware theatre company, right next to the train station. on my ride home to dc there was the most beautiful sunset. i would look up from my book occasionally to catch a glimpse of the most serene scenes on the water or in the trees as we whizzed by on the rails.
i finished a book my friend gave me, and learned an important lesson about lending books. you gotta tell someone if the book is going to make them react in ways that they might not want to in public. fortunate son by walter mosely is a fantastic novel, but it is super sad. so here i was at this conference, or in my hotel, or on the train, getting super depressed and crying while reading the heart-wrenching story of lucky and his brother eric. not cool. i don’t mind crying, but it was really weird to be doing it in public while everyone around me was all happy and excited.
i look forward to returning to delaware. i grew up in maryland, but have never really spent much time in our neighboring tax-free state.
here is one of the poems that i did for the great united way peoples.
the challenge is in front of us
speaking loudly on a cross-town bus
heart beats go-go percussion, she
dance away from any discussion involving school work
the two words she most loathes
grades aren’t as important as gossip and clothes
she knows life is not fair
this student from Southeast Anytown, Anywhere cannot spell HOPE
she cannot read
the Army recruiter’s poster
but she bleeds red, white, and you-don’t-know-how-hard-it-is
to ask for help
when all your life your pride has taught you that you should be able to do it yourself
add versity and unity, you get university
subtract the city, and the universe is yours
always expanding, life demanding
a United Way to overcome adversity
multiply history and herstory
you get OURstory
with all its misery and pain
all our pride and our shame
all of our progress and change
take this story and use it to believe, my friend
tell it to your kids and use these example to prove that you too can and will achieve again
working as a team
with diverse partnerships that will help us raise graduation rates up to 80% by 2018
this is not a dream
this is a measurable outcome from working with teens
an attainable goal even though far it seems
for long is the arc, but it bends toward justice
and for too long students like her were treated as just kids
not whole people
lacking rights and respect
there’s nothing equal about capitalism, classism, adultism, racism, sexism
it’s all about power
don’t be scared to call it what it is
change is not made by cowards
it’s brought about by risk-takers and movement-makers
putting in over 19 million volunteer hours
it comes incrementally and shared
so her change is ours
and we he dares to speak up
we can hear bars breaking down and
new opportunities opening up like flowers reaching for the sky
and you’re the water
helping this wilted guy grow no matter what soil he comes from
no matter what adversity
you will overcome son
and become one engaged in the community
get down on one knee, say “I do” and marry this movement
it’s a new campaign and we’re making it real
not just raising money, we’re raising a spirit you can feel
and it’s a must
that we raise our voices to face this challenge
and shake off the dust
so that we can work together
and live united