What We Know

What We Know

I thought that I knew;
I truly thought that I knew.
I thought I understood
what it was like to be you.

I thought that I knew
because I have read
books by your authors and poets,
and I enjoy what they said.

Or because I know we have differences,
but I value your culture.
I can understand your language,
and I hurt for the way things were.

I thought that I knew
because I have friends and acquaintances.
And these are people that I love,
and I don’t mind what anyone says.

Or because of the boy
who I liked in the eighth grade
when people talked and my parents said no
and their minds were made.

I thought that I knew
because of the differences in our hair,
and because my heart aches
when things are not fair.

Or because I have traveled the world,
and I have been the minority.
I have been called names,
and have had people stare at me.

But I don’t know what it’s like
to be followed in a store,
to always be viewed second,
or as uneducated or poor.

Or what it’s like to be pulled over
with no explanation why.
Or to be feared on the street at night
just because I walked by.

I don’t know what it’s like
to constantly be told I have an attitude,
that I am simply too loud,
or that how I say things is rude.

Or to have people touch my hair
without even asking,
or to repeatedly be told
that I’m just overreacting.

I don’t know what it’s like
to be a joke or a stereotype,
or to regularly be questioned,
even though I am right.

Or to only be associated with drugs and gangs,
or to have to live in fear,
and to have expectations lowered,
or for others to be uncomfortable when I am near.

What I want you to know
is that most of us are trying.
We know there is a problem –
that we are not denying.

We don’t want to ignore it
or pretend it’s not there.
Sometimes we feel helpless,
but it’s not because we don’t care.

What I want you to know
is that we know there is no excuse.
We know that “sorry” is not enough –
that the cycle makes you lose.

We need you to teach us;
we need to learn from you.
We all have to be open and honest –
and be able to laugh, too.

What I want you to know
is that we all need each other.
And if we can remember that,
we can be stronger together.

 

 

Poems from the Archives

Finding Life

I want you to know
that you are good enough.
You are not whatever They
have said you are.

They say you are so young
to be doing what you do.
Or maybe you’re too old
to have a chance of changing now.

They want to give up on you –
they say life will spit you out.
But you’re stuck in the Cycle now,
running, running, running, but not able to win.

All you know is what you know,
and to be anything different,
would be like pouring oil in water –
it doesn’t work, it doesn’t mix, it’s rejected.

But I want you to know,
that all of that can change.
That there is one who believes in you,
and who is waiting for you to see.

To see that there is more to life,
that there is such a thing as hope.
To experience the true joy,
and to live in real Freedom.

Following the one who is fighting for you
will not be easy – it might not always be fun.
But it is the only way out,
the only way to find truth.

So give up yourself, stop chasing this world.
Open your eyes and look –
because the one who gave you life
is ready to help you Live.

About the poem: I wrote this in the fall of 2014. I gave my students a free verse poetry assignment with certain requirements, and I decided I should write one too following my own instructions for the assignment. I suppose it could be about many different things, but I wrote it about a certain group of students who are easily labeled by society as “thugs” or “lost causes.” They were hard to love at times, but my heart ached deeply for them. They have since graduated high school, and I’m still holding on to hope of a better life for them.

 

 

When I’m Running

The gun goes off
with a piercing crack,
and away I fly
around the track.

As my feet move faster,
I leave the world behind me.
as the wind slaps my face,
I know that I am free.

It’s like a silent movie,
because I don’t hear any sound.
Except for the distant click,
as my feet hit the ground.

The pain, the guilt, the fear
all seem to slip away,
and as my body carries me,
running has its way.

I can see the finish line now –
the race is over; I have won.
And in less than a minute,
my mind has had its fun.

I see a place with no heartache,
a place where there are no tears.
I see a place of love and joy,
a place where someone always hears.

But, only when I’m running.

About the poem: I wrote this one in college in 2010. Although I love track and field, this poem is not necessarily about me. Just a runner who loves running and being in his or her own world while doing so.

First blog post

Wisdom

 

As I watch her, I can see that she is different.

There is something about her that draws me in.

She is not like other people; she has something special.

Her smile is vibrant, and her actions are genuine.

She works hard to fight injustice in the world.

She is passionate about helping people in need.

And when the world says “no,”

she is not afraid to take the lead.

She is drawn to people who are hurting;

she goes to them in their pain.

She does not want anything in return,

and yet her time is not in vain.

Her mission is to seek the truth;

she is not afraid to put her heart on the line.

And as she shows her heart to me,

it eases the ache of opening up mine.

As I spend time with her, and get to know her,

I have a sense of peace within me.

She brings calmness to my soul

that I never knew there could be.

She can see people for who they truly are,

and she finds joy in everything she does.

As I listen to her gentle voice speak to me,

she is slowly helping me forget what I was.

Her eyes are full of wonder;

when she is near she brings with her a light.

And with her love and grace,

she has brought the meaning of life into sight.

 

About the poem: I wrote this poem around 2011. “Her” and “she” is, of course, wisdom, but I specifically wrote it to be Godly wisdom that brings life and truth to those that seek it.

 

 

Where I Belong

 

As I look at my classroom of students,

I think how glad I am I get to teach.

It is not easy -the hardships are immense,

but I go on and pray for ways to reach.

 

I want to know all about who they are –

what makes them happy and what makes them ache.

I want them to believe that they can go far;

that in this world a difference they can make.

 

I ask the Lord the show Himself to them.

I pray they would find purpose and freedom –

that they would know and find their joy in Him,

that they would find where hope in life comes from.

 

I ask to be able to always see

because there is no place I’d rather be.

 

About the poem: this one is a Shakespearean sonnet. Each year, I have my freshmen write a sonnet when we are learning about Shakespeare. In 2015, I wrote this one while my students wrote theirs because I was trying to be a good example! 😉 Teaching is SO HARD, but I truly love my job and my students.