When your melodies play,
I am reminded of the opening ceremony of spring.
The miraculous moment when you walk
Through the park and leaves fall as Summer protrudes its last exhale
That the possibility still exists
To love the one I write about in all of my poems.
And knowing that every moment leading to that collide of stars and galaxy will be worth it.
Your guitar strings create Paris nights,
East coast sun rises,
And spontaneous in betweens
All for the sake of creating such memories.
And every day that your melodies play,
I mentor high school students between the ages of 15 and 18.
One day while taking them on a college trip we ride on school buses,
They ask me every question they think it’s ok to ask a 24 year old :
Mr. McCain, what were women like when you were our age?
Mr. McCain, at what point did you give up tennis shoes and chains for suits and ties?
Mr. McCain, do all parents really not understand?
Mr. McCain ?!?!?!?!?!
Mr. McCain !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Did anyone ever tell you that you could die from listening to loud music growing up?
Was that normal for you?
Did you always only wear hoodies when preparing to go the gym?
Was there always a switch in your head to keep the black ones off after 9 o clock?
Did your parents tell you to be careful, you could get shot that way?
Mr. McCain, we don’t understand, but we don’t want to be dead,
Even Katt Williams said, “That baby is supposed to like skittles.”
One child asked me, “Must I cut off my dreads to fit into such a society?”
And with red white and blue frowns I apologized to them.
Asked for forgiveness and acceptance in the fact that to be black and male is to be:
The shooter and the wounded,
The guilty until proven innocent,
The inadequate unless you do exactly what we tell you.
That to be a black boy,
Meant to walk home from school with extra caution,
To look at police with wondering eyes when they say they are protecting and serving,
To be leery of neighborhood watch signs
Because you could die that way.
That all privileges may not be afforded for you but all rules will apply to you,
That you will be expected to work three times as hard to reach the same playing field
and maybe, if you’re lucky you will make something out of yourself one day.
Dear Mr. Obama,
We thank you for being the first black,
But our eyes are so black and bruised that we can barely see clearly out of them anymore.
Young black boys should not feel the color of their skin is simply a reminder that they will spend their lives being beaten and bruised.
My mentee asked me,
What is to become of me in a system not created for me?
I told him,
You will be Moses
Part seas of distinction
With a history of tyranny,
So that your children will only see color as the choice they have to make on what kind of shirt to wear in the morning.
You will be Zeus, with a mixture of Aphrodite
And every time you open your mouth beautiful soliloquies of lightning will pour out of your esophagus like the first April shower in the middle on June on Jupiter.
You will make the impossible seem like a chocolate chip construct.
And it will be possible
To not tell your children you are sorry
Because your friend was killed by enjoying rap instead of country,
Skittles instead of Mike & Ikes,
Re arranging the constellations will be a pastime for you.
And we will look back on this day like the 60’s and say ‘my how things have changed.’
Dear Mr. Obama.
We appreciate you for being the first black,
But our eyes are so black and bruised that we cannot see differences between us and animals anymore.
We have been conditioned to believe our bruised eyes are the same color as our skin,
The feeling is normal for us now,
We have been conditioned,
To being beaten and bruised,
Beaten and bruised,
Beaten and scarred,
Conditioned to die.
Unpublished Works, McCain, Justin, March 2014
Captivating creatures of Christ with my story
Choice less in such an endeavor
I lay hands on Gods people with metaphors pouring out of them
Superman has shit on me
Batmans utility belt isn’t strapped enough
Have you walked down a street where someone asks you “are you strapped enough” lately?
The city of St. Louis is regularly posted as one of the most dangerous cities in America
You may have to attain Superhuman strength to survive here
Other worldly capabilities to save your people
To save a person
And they say
It must be Black Friday
You ain’t supposed to make it far anyway
I guess today, is just Black Friday*end*
I went to college in a slave state
At my University, They preserve an old crop field there
It is common knowledge my ancestors picked cotton for someone on these grounds
It is used for “research” now they say
I wonder if they ever researched the reminders I was constantly given
How many times I had to tell myself I am not another nigger in Columbia
If they counted how many times they asked me my last name and if I was related to the Senator as if it was joke no one with Mocha skin could understand
Telling myself, “my greatest fear is not that I am inadequate”
You are not supposed to be here
“My greatest fear is that I am powerful beyond measure”
You are going to die by 25, count your years
“My greatest fear, is not that I am inadequate”
Nigger baby, black child, tar monger
You’re the only black person in class.
We win, you lose,
And they say
They say there’s no worse day than when you come home
See that everything’s gone
And now you
on your own
I guess It must be Black Friday *end*
I returned to St. Louis at age 23
Where originally there were cracks in pavement there are caves creating craters in the ground
There are gun shot sounds in the counties now
Your children are not safe from my cities redemption
Safe, from my countries systems
Even the murderers walk free now
Any nightly insight on Delmar might be your last
Chitty chitty bang bang, nigga now we are things of past
Why are these niggas,
Acting like such niggas?
Do they not understand there are more of the black man in jail now than during slavery?
Do you not see that life is a movie?
Why do you keep pushing the fast forward button?
Why are we in such a hurry to die?
Why are the people of my city helping each other get there?
And they say
They say today,
Is Black Friday
And on this day it’s Die Day
Maybe one day
We will have something better to say
But I guess
I guess it’s just Black Friday
In 2004 ,I went
To my first family reunion.
Added faces to names we had
Spoken of over dinner and road trips.
Discovered the meaning behind my middle name;
Met a cousin with the same as mine.
All of the children knew him before
As the cousin who read palms.
Who gave futures and told
Fortunes based on lines.
Looking at mine,
- Lesson : On Telling Everything That You Know
I could tell her she was the most gorgeous thing.
Since the creation of Saturn’s’ rings.
Since the creation of the nearest white dwarf.
And the evolution of man.
But even the most eloquent soliloquies,
Four Paged Letters, and Poetry,
Do not come equipped with mirrors.
- Lessons: On Helping Friends Discover Self Worth
Heart strings have proven to be
Such fickle things.
I have never seen something so fragile and soft
Cut through the deepest of marrow without warning or cause.
Black excellence. Such an amazing night.