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By edward
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My Nightmare On MLK Day

Yesterday we celebrated the life and legacy of the “young preacher from Georgia” (that’s for another  blog). Last year we heard the slogan “Rosa sat  so could Martin could walk, Martin walked so Barack could run, Barack ran, he ran and he won, so that all our children could fly” ( that’s for another blog). Nevertheless, those of you who celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day (probably not John McCain) paid reverence to a man who gave every fiber of his being to promulgate justice and equality for all.

Yesterday after I arose from my slumber I thanked God for waking me up and giving me life, I thanked The University of Chicago for recognizing the holiday so I could sleep until noon, and I thanked Dr. King for giving me the opportunity to attend such an illustrious institution alongside students of all races and ethnicities. After giving thanks I sat on the edge of my bed for ten minutes and thought about all the resources I have in my life because of the freedom fighters before me. As I began to brush my teeth I looked in the mirror and saw a young…gifted…and Black American…… nightmare . Up until that point I thought I had lived the American dream, yet something felt wrong. I reflected on the fact that 48 percent of Blacks are incarcerated; that the Black/White wealth gap is now 14 to 1; that Whites own homes at 70 percent and Blacks at 45 percent; where health gaps in major illnesses persists and Blacks disproportionately do not have health insurance; and where poverty reigns for 30-40 percent to such an extent that it impacts educational performance. If we are living in a time that is truly a dream, my dream must  be living in a nightmare. At that very moment I wrote this poem

America’s Worst Nightmare

I listen to jazz music, attend college, write poetry, and drink tea

I read British literature, discuss politics, and enjoy musicals

I am America’s worst nightmare

I scrutinize the Wall Street Journal, watch baseball games, and eat sushi.

I work two jobs, go to parties, and write research papers

I am America’s worst nightmare

I cry at funerals, smile at weddings, and laugh at the movies

I dance in the rain, sing in the shower, and gaze at the sunset

I am America’s worst nightmare

When people see me they run in the opposite direction

They must think I am Adolph Hitler or Mussolini

I’m not dropping bombs over Baghadad

I’m dropping metaphors and similes

Haikus and hyperboles

I am America’s worst nightmare

Even if I enunciate all my words with a little preacher’s cadence

I’m still spewing rubbish

Even if I recite the most beautiful poetry your ears have ever heard

I’m a lyrical terrorist

I have tried to live the American dream, but my dream was deferred

That means I’ve been misled, miseducated, and deterred

Because my words acerbically burn holes in the flawed logic of this nation

I don’t need reparations because 40 acres and an ass can’t atone for 2nd class

I’m just taking the baton that has been passed by the leaders of the past

Even though I cast my ballot for B.O. from Chi town

I still feel the pain of being pulled down

Because I am America’s worst nightmare

I’m not bad bad Leroy brown

I’m just a kid in the “Windy City” trying to dream

Not just for Dr. King but for all human beings

Even though I may be a nightmare

I’m Fannie Lou Hamer’s dream

Even though I may be a nightmare

I’m Cesar Chavez’ dream

Even though I may be a nightmare

I’m Fred Hampton’s Dream

Even though I may be a nightmare

I’m Bayard Rustin’s dream

I am buildng dreams so maybe one day you can be America’s worst nightmare too.