Foreword . . .
He was supposed to be here before his birth in April 1991. He doesn’t know this. In the waiting area of life and death his flight was diverted to allow take off for another plane. Our grandfather. Then he arrived. He couldn’t know this, but after my grandfather’s departure, we were waiting for him. We needed him. We awaited his arrival like a promised gift, full of wonder and expectations. All our hopes for him to some degree must have made him feel uncomfortable, but we meant no harm. We just loved the guy. We watched him with over cautious eyes. Laughed often at his unexpected phrases. He was unique that way. He never tried to be funny. But when he was it caught you off guard, made you laugh, and it felt intimate. He was always catching us off guard. He didn’t converse much, but when he shared you realized that you could be amongst a genius. My brother was a great diversion during times of sorrow and regret, surprising us all the time with his knowledge, and use of words. Words that he didn’t share too often.
In his childhood, there was a lot of turbulence. His first year we all witnessed the Rodney King beating and inevitably the Los Angeles Riots. The next year of his life was the Waco massacre. Two years later the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Tragedies in America continued throughout his childhood (and up into adulthood),including the ultimate, the terrorist assault on America at the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and on United Flight 93. That was 2001, he was 10. How does a child cope, when throughout his formative years there has been nothing but one tragedy after the other? At his age I can only recall one major event, the Challenger exploding and I only saw that live once, repeated a few times more, news wasn’t like it is today. The repetitive collapse of the World Trade Towers, the way they were continuously shown on television, as well as other oversaturated events, can’t be good for a child.
Inheriting an American that has been at war since the time you are born has to suck. The joy and hope of the election of the first black president, awe inducing. The slaughter of countless unarmed black men, personal. The isolation of having the childhood where the world feels like it’s on its last spin when you have siblings from different generations that experienced different, certainly must have shaped my brother’s writing approach. It’s all there in his writing. He, in his work is exactly how he is in life. He chooses words carefully, and labors over whether or not the combination of them are a right fit. His precision reflects his thoughtfulness. Also another attribute of his that has been my pleasure to experience. I personally recommend “What a Waste”. I can hear his inner dialogue in the words of this poem. It speaks to me because I too dislike useless conversation from pompous people. This poetry book in its entirety has a pulse ranging from 2 (meaning easily palpable) to 4 (meaning aneurysmal). That’s right I am saying to some degree that he is about to blow your mind. I’m not biased. He’s is an exceptional writer.
~ Casaundra Camille Robinson
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