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SHADOW GAMES: The Truest Things

Posted By Todd Drew On November 18, 2008 @ 9:54 am In Todd Drew | Comments Disabled

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I love baseball, but can’t play very well. I love poetry, but can’t write very well.

So I watch and read those who are truest to the crafts.

Derek Jeter is the best shortstop I’ve ever seen. He has been praised by some and criticized by others. A few have even felt the need to explain him with numbers.

Jeter needs no explanation. Everything about him speaks clearly.

Langston Hughes is the best poet I’ve ever read. He has been praised by some and criticized by others. A few have even felt the need to explain his work and his time.

Hughes needs no explanation. His words always speak clearly.

Theme for English B

By Langston Hughes

The instructor said,

Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you –
Then, it will be true.

I wonder if it’s that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me – we two ­– you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York too.) Me – who?

Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records – Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?
Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white –
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That’s American.
Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that’s true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me –
although you’re older – and white –
and somewhat more free.

This is my page for English B.

Theme for Bronx B

By Todd Drew

People know my thoughts from a baseball blog without knowing my face. Some have asked if I am Latin because I like Alex Rodriguez. Others have said that I must be black because I like Barry Bonds.

I am.

I am Latin and black. I am from Asia and Africa and Europe and the Middle East. I am Mexican and Dominican and Cuban and Panamanian and Nicaraguan and Venezuelan and Columbian. I am everyone from everywhere. I came here in the hold of a ship. I snuck across a border in the middle of the night. I picked tomatoes in California and loaded bales of cotton in Texas and processed meat in Kansas and laid bricks in Brooklyn.

That makes me an American.

I believe we are all Americans here in America.

I write about America and Americans because that is what I see and where I live and who I know and what I think and believe. It is all I know to be true.

I write about battles for justice. Some tell me that justice is too much to ask from a society that calls some human beings illegal and allows racial profiling and torture and secret prisons and capital punishment.

But I believe you can’t keep justice down with Americans around.

I write about fights for fairness. Some tell me that fairness is too much to ask from a society that can’t even provide all of its citizens with decent housing and healthcare and nutrition and transportation and education.

But I believe you can’t keep fairness down with Americans around.

I believe you can’t keep the New York Yankees down. I believe they will win the World Series every year. That makes me just like Derek Jeter. But, unlike Jeter, I’m not disappointed when they don’t win because I know that baseball is a hard game.

I believe you can’t keep Americans down. I believe we are on the way to being everything we are supposed to be. That makes me just like everyone else. But, unlike some, I’m not disappointed when we don’t make it all the way each day because I know that democracy is a hard game.

I like hard games and I love to play. Those are the truest things I know.

This is my page for Bronx Banter.


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