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Shirley Gale

Come Back Young Brother

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Hello Everyone,

I wrote this poem during a time in my life when I saw too many of our young Black men slinging dope and killing one another. This was a time when I saw black anger turned inward. I wrote this one during the early nineties. Why are so many of our young black youth still in the same predicaments today--in 2015? This poem was featured in the Virginian Pilot in Norfolk, VA and the Journal and Guide, our only Black Newspaper at the time. Once it was released to the public, some people, especially young Black men, took offense to being labeled "weak."

Sorry, I just think that weakness exists in the absence of strength, courage, and endurance. There are far too many of our beautiful, young, Black, men locked up because they made the wrong choice to make a dollar. Still today, there are far too many of them not handling their business. There are far too many of you separated/apart from us--your beautiful Black Woman! I suspect that I will get others who do not like this particular poem. If that is the case, please counter me in a positive discussion and enlighten my ignorance.

Come Back Young Brother

Young Black Man, You are--

Afraid not to be weak, yet too weak to be strong.

Afraid not to say "yes" to what's right, too weak to say "no" to what's wrong.

Afraid not to look, listen, and learn--too weak to stay and wait your turn.

Afraid not to just walk away, too weak to pray for a brighter day.

Afraid not to deal in dope, too weak to be your mother's hope.

Afraid not to open your eyes to the light, too weak to resist the perils of the the night.

Afraid not to cry out for help, too weak to make just one more step.

Afraid not to learn in school, too weak to follow the golden rule.

Afraid not to love your brother, too weak to stop hurting one another.

Afraid not to stop the guns and caine, too weak to wake up and come in from the rain.

Afraid not to feel your pride, too weak to let goodness be on your side.

Afraid not to see your brother's plight, too weak to vote and make it right.

Afraid not to obey government's laws, too weak to resist its fatal flaws.

Afraid not to speak of your pain, too weak to stamp out killing in vain.

Afraid not to come back home, too weak to let your love be shone.

Afraid not to take a bride, too weak to know that she'll be by your side.

Afraid not to heed your mother's frown, too weak to resist beating her down.

Afraid not to be the true Black man, too weak to know that you're the only one who can.

Afraid not to give it all to God, too weak to shuffle the deck and pull the right card.

Afraid not to look around you and live, too weak to stop, to care, to give.

And finally, young brother--

Afraid not to see that you're Black, too weak to know its time to come back!

 

Shirley G. Perry-Church,

1992

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