By Brookes Washington
Honorable Mention for the David Middleton Poetry Award

Spent cane to meet a new world, but I ain’t got there yet

So questions rolled off the tongue like dew on morning grass untouched by weary footprints and lost only a simple soul could know

Unkempt, Delaying the Inevitable

Deceived and Convinced closed doors, stained with victory and grace, ain’t gonna open for a sinner like


Warm hearted kindness and breathless hope, what we call faith, in this crypt of a town where the coffins are homes to mindless skeletons in day old thoughts and hypocritical defeat

Where I’m from, there are no thanks you’s or hello’s, just cold shoulders and stale eyes from soulless shadows thickened by the Oak not blood

Tryin’ to keep the taste of deferred dreams out a caged bird’s position, hoping…praying maybe I too can dream and the world will witness this

Passion tried by selfishness and jealously but guided in the light of the hopelessness for the weakened and beaten on their last

So we ran with that, Do I ran with that

Mama prayed and Daddy spoke, so I wrote…giving life to something I never knew but loved so fearfully

Somewhere between life and conclusion, not sure, just knowing that if I could just push harder, fight longer, breathe shorter. You’re almost there, kid…

Blood tinged dirt paved the backyard escape and when the devil stroked his claw on his love’s face, my tears provided that rain

So we ran with that, So I ran with that

All the white color settled into my veins, while the veins settled into the ways

A lifeless river comforting their inabilities and mistakes, ya know it makes things easier to criticize when yo’ shame not on display

But I, like so many before me

Could never shape those ashes allowing man to know me, so we became the subjects of all their enjoyed misfortune

So I left wishes to men who would not spare a breath for my name and decided

Prayer would lead this way, Faith is no idle thing to be discarded or fooled

Cause’ truly, there’s no time for lost on a battlefield of one against a thousand

Cause’ truly, only deaf ears can hear apologizes and blind eyes can see the colors of hurt’s burdens

Sometimes we fall into a trance of wandering and wondering

Of whether

“The Good Enoughs” and “What Ifs” will weather this storm of unpredictability and destined discrepancies

Afraid to fail cause’ even my worst enemy will show sorrow and pity for my dismayed circumstance

So what do I do? Dear God, what do we do?

Persist in the unwillingness of our own defeat?

What if we shouldn’t find the strength to rise, where humility has been confused into shame that weakens the bones and strengthens the very soul who hates me?

Where no one dare lay their head at night, no Father, where do we go from here?

After blood sweated tears, After nightless mornings and morningless nights, After curses of fire and brokenness…After bruised knees and an aching heart filled plea

Spending long hours among the lost, mourning countless skies, and sorrowful spills over a cup rimmed with the blood of the forgotten sweetened by the innocent

Fear could no longer smother a given salvation purposefully disguised as serpents in a garden of the free and of the brave

It took to undo the screws in this makeshift prison, where the mind becomes senseless in its awakening

There is no time or change to spare, just human beings pushing for something bigger than ourselves

Perhaps a voice that will drown us in the sweetness of moral capacity and heavenly righteousness

So divinely created that even sinners like us can stand and be mystified by this greater glory

I don’t know…but this is what I except from spent cane and sore feet, from an exhausted heart in search of peace

All I’m sayin’ is…it’s time to become