On: The Lives of African-Americans & People of Color

Photo by Ezekixl Akinnewu via Pexels

You don’t understand the anger b/c you are not the target. Your life isn’t on the line every time you come in contact with those purposed to “protect” & “serve”. Don’t question our anger. It’s warranted & has been bottled up for eons. An explosion of epic proportions is brewing.

Stand with us or sit down.

Young Minds of Medium Featured Piece #1

My young ones, our young ones, the Young Minds of Medium never disappoint. They rise to the occasion, responding to challenges and calls for submissions in such a way that leaves me in awe. I have been doing this for four years now and I can tell you that it does not get old. I love this type of work. Over the next three weeks, I will feature three young ones from Medium who responded to this month’s challenge, “What Do You Miss Most During This Pandemic?”

First up, is Mr. Anto Rin. Anto is the first member of YMOM and was seventeen, almost eighteen years old when we first collaborated on Medium together. I have watched this young man soar to higher heights and with each piece he releases to the world, he is growing and revealing more of what he can do with words. His work, The Last Homecoming is our feature for this week.


The Last Homecoming

Young Minds of Medium Missed Things Call

Credit

Sushil turned towards the window and looked outside at a city whose squeals of hustle had eventually died down, inconspicuously somehow, until what could be heard were only the echoes of his own thoughts. It was weird at first — for his ears to not be able to distinguish from the air the sounds that had always been there. What he soon came to realize, however, was that the silence was as deafening as the clamor.

The pandemic separated him from his family. His mother and sister were in his hometown alone. He knew he had to be with them — these troubled times were sure to have them terribly worried. After two weeks of being in quarantine, Sushil finally arrived at a decision.

He concluded that he couldn’t wait a second more.

He packed a bag full of biscuits and water, and he set off. He was going to his hometown, no matter what, even if it meant he had to walk around 400 km.

It took him half a day just to reach the limits of the city, where the highway rolled out like a glass ribbon that seemed to shift shapes under the blinding light of the April sun. For days he walked, eating nothing but biscuits, two at a time. He knew he wouldn’t be able to buy anything until he reached the next district, so he rationed carefully. The heat was stifling — he rested whenever he could in the shades of trees.

His legs began to feel heavy, the muscles lining his shins possibly torn beyond recognition. His ankles were locked as if tightly screwed, and whenever he sat down by the side of the highway, his knees made sounds that would have made a biology student uncomfortable.

The first two days had been the easiest since he was at least in complete possession of his senses during that period. It was a challenge, but nothing a man of his strength couldn’t do. During the third day, after he had grabbed a short nap, he woke up into a state of delirium, not knowing where he was or what he was supposed to be doing. He panicked reflexively and, fearing he might have a sunstroke, he emptied an entire canteen of water, which roused his body to a state of alert that helped him walk the farthest distance yet without stopping.

His sandals were almost burnt after miles and miles of rubbing against the road, and at times, his feet slipped forward from the loosening clasps of the straps, grazing against the simmering tar. It scalded his toes. He had to waste some of his water for treating them because walking with a burn felt to him like walking on molten metal.

His phone died the fourth day, although he couldn’t have known in the state he was in. It would have hardly made any difference to him. The heat had become intolerable, so he stopped moving so much during the day. At nights, he felt lost, the lights from the posts shifting the shape of everything around him for every step he took, the road studs deceiving him with their scintillating lights. But at least, he could walk at a pace and keep to it.

He lost a sense of days soon enough. He couldn’t keep track of when he slept, or when he woke up. At one point, he woke up again in delirium, so much so that he couldn’t even remember going to sleep, or that he had done so in the middle of the road. His body was burning and he was sure that he had a fever. He felt breathless, but couldn’t quite feel his heart. There was a slight pain in his chest, which spread in an outward manner until he could feel it in his ribs.

“What’s the matter?”

Sushil raised a blurry eye.

“Who — who are you? Where am I?”

Sushil could see the faint outline of a woman and kept his eyes riveted to her. Since there wasn’t any reply, he said, “Have I made it? Where am I? Who are you?”

“Why, it is me, son.”

“Mother, is it you? Where’s Shreya? Is she alright, mother?”

“She’s fine. You know I will take care of her.”

“I am not very well. But where are we?”

“You blacked out. You are home, son. Come, put your head to rest.”

Sushil managed to drag himself over to her. His feet were still scalded and felt like they were engulfed in flames. He went to his mother and laid his head on her lap. A surge of cold instantly came over him, and he felt relaxed like he hadn’t in days. An inexplicable tiredness washed over him. He knew he was delirious, but for a second he believed he had made it because there was no other explanation for it.

He closed his eyes deliberately with a sense of relief as if he was finally ready to let go.


*Inspired by real-life events: click here or here to read further.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Missed America: A Haiku in ten parts

135th Street YMCA Mural by Aaron Douglas — 1934

Missed America

A Haiku in ten parts


A torturous thing —
Living in one’s skin waiting
For the next bullet

A deep “virtual
Insanity” has gotten
The best of freedom

America, “land
Of the free, home of the brave,”
We backstab with love

This, a country that
Hails its flag as kings and queens
Over its people

They say they want us —
But spend their time keeping us
Buried above ground

Stifling, isn’t it?
How UnAmerican most
Americans are

We’re disposable —
That’s how it feels when folks drag
You out with the trash

Too many speakers —
Not enough listeners, so
Nothing’s getting done

Devastation hits —
strips away homes and loved ones,
His words are, “Good Luck!”

Priorities shift —
Other things take precedence
Over human lives


This poem is a part of “Equal People,” Our Human Family’s anthology of international poetry on equality and inclusivity.

if it’s privilege, you will know

Photo by Josh Hild via Unsplash

you are yearning to
go out while I
simply want to stay in

safe from the fevered patients
I screen, often misdiagnosed
pneumonia is a lie
doctors tell them
to keep from testing them
accurately

and I pray for my friend
recently the owner of
results that will
take a quarantine period
to alleviate
away from her family
a mountain of
positivity
is needed

I channel my
extra portion
and send it to her

one of my cousins
found my Great-Uncle
dead in his home,
his flimsy body
riddled with pain
shut-in, cast off
from others, a virus
claiming his soul

you are yearning to
go out while I
simply want to stay in

I see the numbers
I tally the cost
overwhelming hurt
rising in smiling faces
with tearful eyes,

demeanors shattered
and tossed about like
yesterday’s garbage

privilege smells like
piss in a dark alley
day old and sun baked

my cousin does his rounds
at a prominent hospital
in Queens, his colleagues
dying left and right
from the very thing
they’re fighting

I ask God to cover
him just as he’s covering
me. how would our
people take two deaths
at once?

if it touches your family,
claims your friends,
& piles up in every corner
where you turn,

tell me, will you still
be so eager to go
out then?


What I do for a living? I register patients for various imaging scans and invasive procedures and one of the scans we are doing far more of than we ever have before? Chest X-rays. Many patients are being tested for Coronavirus COVID-19, many of them have been diagnosed as having pneumonia. While most of those diagnoses have proven true, some of them have not.

My Great-Uncle was found dead in his home by one of his children while at home recovering from something people still believe doesn’t exist. A good friend of mine recently tested positive for COVID-19. When you see what I see, live what I live, and work where I work, you don’t need the news or a politician or a doctor telling you what’s going on, you experience it for yourself.

All of you, please take care and be well. If I’m not as active on here for a few days here and there, that’ll be because I’m exhausted and flitting between many emotions. Peace.