IT WILL LIVE INSIDE ME FOREVER
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, halfway between sleep and consciousness, I go to the place where that bewildered boy of long ago still dwells in me, and my eyes fill with tears. I tell him that he is safe now, and that I will protect him. But the scars on his soul ache, and although he wishes me well in his little, manly way, he is able to draw little solace from my presence.
When I stand in front of my students, my mind often wanders back to those years. Almost as if it were yesterday, I vividly recall watching my father being beaten by the police. I have never felt more impotent and powerless than I did in those days.
They will live inside of me forever.
Gregory Howard Williams
I don’t think of them as dead, but as walking together over green hills at dawn, peacefully making their way along a zigzag trail. When they lose sight of one another, one of them calls out in a voice that echoes throughout the hills, “Kote w ye fre m? Brother, where are you?
And the other one answers, “Mwen la . Right here, brother. I’m right here.”
Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying
GOD GAVE NOAH THE RAINBOW SIGN: WON’T BE WATER, IT’S THE FIRE NEXT TIME
“I’m too young for this. I don’t want to talk about it. I need to take a long rest”
8-year-old boy, Henry Horner Homes housing project, Chicago
“The future? You better not be thinking about the future if you want to make it through each day.”
Crips set leader, age 16, Brooklyn, New York. Television interview.
“I just want to be the one in the little boat who goes up and down the river,
pulling out the things that hurt the ducks – so that no more ducks will die.”
J. Drayton, age 7, Boston
DRINK PLENTY OF MILK / ART AND PHOTO BY CLAIRE O’BRIEN 2011
This is the body of Blake Melvin Staples, the seventh of my family’s nine children. I know his countours well. I bathed and diapered him when he was a baby. He is the smallest of the brothers, with the same short torso, and long arms and legs. His second toe curves slightly and rises in an arc, in a way that’s unique to us.
Below the familiar feet, a drain awaits the blood that will flow from the autopsy.
“The deceased twenty-two-year-old Negro male sustained multiple gunshot wounds – “
The floor gave way, and I fell down and down for miles.
Brent Staples, Parallel Time