Western and 48th Street, Los Angeles
Western and 48th Street, Los Angeles

I experienced the sneers of discrimination at my schools before I experienced the sonnets of poetry within them.

But the first time I was discriminated against based on the color of my skin, the language I spoke at home, or some other characterization of me, I didn’t quite know the definition of the word: discrimination.

Similarly, the first time I heard my first poem, I didn’t quite know that it was poetry, either. Yet in each case, my feelings told me what these things were. Today they still do.

Now, I deploy the English language to work for me as I’ve worked for it over the course of the years of my education, and as my mother has worn every bone in her body to work all her life: to survive the rancorous tone of the institutions designed to tame us.

My mother’s feet are waning into the ages now, yet with each new day she makes one thing clear:

We will not go gently into the night. Every moment we get, is another moment to rise.

J.T.

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