I was six when I told them
that animals were our brothers and sisters.
The two Christians in the front seat called me foolish
and I looked out the window at the grey sky.
I was nine when they told me that
in order to be better I had to be different.
You can’t fit in and stand out
at the same time.
I was sixteen when a full-time job
replaced trips to the movies I had never taken,
weekends on the beach with friends I never had,
and after school activities I never wanted to do.
I was seventeen when my peers
bemoaned their somehow-less-adequate BMW’s
while I put bumper stickers
on my hand-me-down minivan.
I was eighteen when I finally escaped the land of
separation where I had earned my freedom.
Our scholarly society was a place where
the only two black students were the ones least outcast.
It only took five years to unravel
eighteen years of divisive damage,
but I don’t know how it happened.
When was my first glimpse of the Society of One?
When did I learn about the Uni-verse?
Was it when I stood with my key in the lock
and breathed golden light before going in
to face the negative vibes?
Maybe it was the relentless subliminal hints:
a smile from a crying baby,
a fluffy white cloud,
an origami flower from a stranger.
Maybe it was the day I was born
and all this time I have been learning
the rules of society
just so I could break them with style.
I think probably it was the day when
overlooking the dancing trees and singing valley below
we dropped acid at The Vista. That was the night
I was paralyzed by the beauty of the fireflies’ dance.
All I can say is I trust we are all one
because it’s just better that way.
We drink the same sun, we breathe the same air,
we eat the same earth, and I think that’s enough.
How do you see society? Do you see a uni-verse or a me and a you? How long has it been that way?