Poetry by Charles Joseph

City Sports

I don’t know about your stories with basketball, football or whatever…ball
But in my city, our sport is handball:

Where the outsiders and class-drivers reconciled
Their pride, forces and hides
Each Friday night, after school: concrete playground
Blue round rubber band ball bouncing boldly.
Man, that was our party

Our palms would bump till peel
But this pain, we never feel.
Slaps and echoes drumming
Our eardrums
Before it resonates into what seems to be an abyss;
A neighborhood made of blocks, corner stores, out-of-schedule buses,
Squirrels; pigeons
And apartments ever too tight to fit our dreams,
So the city never sleeps.
Some say it’s because we are convinced that
We will fix these dreams right
Each time we’re breaking night.

But daytime is for society’s demands
And kids walking in bands;
Young adults mimicking gangs.

Maybe we only mimicked because, deep down.
We knew. There were bigger purposes
Than parading around corners, down blocks
Where piggies oink with bother:
Questions that could never answer,
Why we’re always shooed off our own territory
With diction about school, our potentials
Which, for now, is in the form of
Trouble seen in the skin color
Of our brothers.

We always knew.
This education:
Stories of doctorates, laws and a backpedal
To instruction,
Was only the limits we were told
To be bounded to.
There had to be a way to let wind
Slide under our capes. Although
We, at times, refused to believe it.

But If a brother could actually use these real life wings
That he won’t shut his trap about,
Then, my brother, I’ll be the first to slide
Up and down rainbows.

Even we, tell ourselves to not believe in our dreams.
Although, this stubbornness in us always sang else:
There’s more beyond being trapped in this trap
With a tight cap.

My city life is: handball sessions at the local park’s
Handball court.
Where you know these Asian kids will not be beaten.
Rounds on the basketball courts
Where you know the black kids are Kings of the court.
Skate spots that I doubt are legalized
Where the white kids are discovering culture.

Culturally divided, we always were
Culturally integrated, we always are
For every now and then,
We mingle our differences in the center of the court—
Qualities of: Professional Athlete, Einstein and CEO
Losing their differences.

Step behind that white line; cracked line
And serve.


They say high school never ends… 🙂

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