Paint Myself Gold

I would paint myself gold
if it meant you would notice me.
I’m just a poor child
living in the Land of Opportunity.
Mommy works so hard,
but makes very little money.
We have no light or no heat
My family lives in poverty.

I rush to do my homework
before night-time falls.
That’s when the drug dealers come out
and begin their street battles.
All the shooting scares me.
I want a safer home.
They fight for a piece of concrete
that they will never own.

Police are on the every corner,
I don’t think they care for me,
because all day long
they fight what my future could be.

I look forward to the holidays,
Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts,
that’s the one time of year
we always have plenty to eat.
We get big gifts,
new shoes, clothes and toys.
Even Mommy gets new things.
That fills my heart with joy.

I wish I could be a superhero
and protect my family and friends.
I’d beat up all the drug dealers
So the streets would be safe again.

There are a lot of families like mine
living in my neighborhood,
We are poor, but hope hard and pray
That our lives will turn out good.

When I look at all my neighbors,
I wonder again and again,
If I painted us all gold,
Would you notice us then?

This poem from my book, Persistence of Vision, was published in 2009 and was one of the winning works presented at the 2008 Delaware Art Museum’s Eye/I Witness Gordon Parks contest.

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