"All This" by Opal Palmer Adisa

Opal Adisa PalmerOpal Palmer Adisa is a professor of creative writing and literature at California College of the Arts, with eleven titles to her credit, including the novel, It Begins With Tears (1997) that Rick Ayers proclaimed as one of the most motivational works for young adults. Her most recent works are Until Judgment Comes (short story collection), 2007; Eros Muse (poetry and essays), Africa World Press, March 2006 and her forthcoming is I Name Me Name (poetry & stories), Peepal Tree Press, 2008.



All This

living in oakland

i never know

when i leave my home

if i’ll return alive

i’m less valuable than gum

on the sidewalk that sticks to your shoes

three friends were killed this year

they weren’t into dope or gangs

and i saw my first dead person

when i looked down at ron

in his coffin i couldn’t move

i thought i would faint

felt like a piece of paper

being blown on the street

someone in the line nudged

me forward

afterwards several of us

drifted to the park

by school and i just cried and cried

none of it made sense

ron was the captain of our

soccer team

i might be dead tomorrow

or the next

but i want to live

i want to go to college

for ron

for myself

i want a chance

to fall in love

play soccer at college

travel to senegal or kenya

make a wish on the full moon

like my mother says

focus on staying alive

staying alive

stay alive


***

Throughout the month of April, National Poetry Month, poets from the Caribbean and South Florida will be featured on this blog.


Comments

Rethabile said…
Opal doesn't say "travel to Lesotho," but I went beyond that and loved the poem. If I had to choose a favourite line it would be, "i’m less valuable than gum." Great.
Rethabile, Opal is a poet with a great sense of line and imagery...this is especially true with her erotic poems.

Bless up,
Geoffrey
Rethabile said…
And the erotic poems, are they in a specific book, scattered amond different books, or somewhere online, hidden from prying eyes?

I have launched a search several times and came out clean.

Happy summer to you (Today is the 20th of June). I'm loving your blog more with its increased frequency of poems.

In good Sesotho, Kea leboha.
Rethabile, try this collection:

Opal

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