Poetry by Charles Joseph

if i die in my sleep

my mother struggles for the care of her community
drop outs on broadcast with a curriculum in their mouth,
the avenues always studying.
so why the education that you offer?

which level of this cycle begs the most for attention?
my brother strives to open our eyes
presenting to a collection of disguise
he’s the example, avenue. a Promise
but our stomachs ask for attention, too

if death comes for me, tonight
where in my sleep will it place the blame?
am I a bad student? or do certain teachings drowse me
amiss to the dreams deferred before i knew of sleep
the dreams yawning, yearning, to be awake in the present

my uncle’s teeth are rotting
but Which lesson in life did he not learn?
Which course initiated the faults in him?
Which choices were his to make?

This poem was the result of an assignment I was given by an organization. The instruction was to write a poem that touches upon the idea of “The American Dream Deferred.” I wrote the poem and sent it to them, but I never heard back. It’s a great piece though. I surprised myself too.

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12 responses to “if i die in my sleep”

  1. It is always his choice to make, I like the wisdom in your verses. Cheers.

    1. Thank you for drawing attention to this part of the piece! I was attempting to communicate this: some people live in an environment with so little resources and opportunities that making their life better is not a choice/privilege that’s available to them. An example is growing up in a community where there isn’t a good school system. In a situation like this, getting a good education that would promote you to a better living is simply not a choice that is available to you. Some people’s parents were addicted to drugs, therefore the kids are genetically/biologically prone to addiction and drug usage—these kids don’t have the choice of saying no to drugs (and thus not ruining their lives) because that’s all that their body yearns. In this poem, I tried to address the belief that people who are not “rich and successful” are so because of laziness. 99% of the time, it is because success was not in their list of choices to make. I hope this helps you understand the poem a bit more 🙂

      1. Ah, different aspect of choice, yes, poverty isn’t a choice, or being born with a silver spoon in their mouths. It’s a cop out to say you’re poor because you’re lazy, I’ve heard that too sadly.. I got you. Cheers to more good poetry!

        1. Thank you! And I’m glad you were able to understand it 🙂

  2. Hey Sircharlesthepoet,

    I am sorry to hear that you did not hear back from the people you turned your piece into. It is a great piece. It makes you think.

    That happened to me once, at a college. I am going to try and figure out who I should talk to to resolve the issue.

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Thank you for your comment, and I wish you the best of luck!! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure so I will keep moving on.

      Have a great week!

      1. You as well my friend!

  3. It’s a really good piece. I really like the use of language It reads very well.

    1. Thank you very much, James!

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