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Cynth'ya Lewis

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perry franklin's children
by Cynth'ya Lewis
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Rated "G" by the Author.
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My late father Jay Lewis grew up an abused child who never questioned his father's actions.

When he died at 25, he was a senior theological college student, one of the three youngest children who were taken out of the home in Collinsville MS by three of my aunts who moved to Harrisburg, PA.

There--the last of the 18 surviving infant Lewis children--had an opportunity to finish school, and move on with their lives. Prior to my uncle's death, I will never forget the tears in his eyes that had seen nearly seven decades of life when I asked about my grandfather--Charles Van Perry Franklin Lewis. My uncle Luther choked up, a man nearing the age of 70 years, cried tears like a baby and said these words, "Our daddy used to beat us."

My grandmother died in an asylum near Jackson MS. "Papa Van" had her put away. None of my uncles ever displayed the behavior of their father. They were gentle, kind wonderful men. One of the three is still living, jokes about how "Papa would knock us into next week if we didn't do just what he said."

So, Grandpapa Van, being the intelligent, business man who lived two lives, one respected by the community of black church folk, and a more insidious one where even your approaching shadow evoked the worst of anxieties in the lives of your helpmate and offspring,. . . this is for you.

I thank you for fathering children thru the gentle spirit who is resting from your wrath. And may you rest wherever you happen to be right now, and know that your children, and your grandchildren have broken your cycle, with none of them bearing your names.

And even though you represented spiritual slavery at its worst, at least you taught them to seek Jesus.

perry franklin’s idea of a perfect home

was one that would make the cover story

of better homes and gardens,

a cold place in the real world

that knew nothing of a hug

or a kiss or a bit of encouragement,

and in a place that was so foreign

to failure and forgiveness,

perry franklin’s children

always had to look elsewhere

when it came to seeking change

and challenge and curiosity. . .

their young lives were so full of control,

raised by the good book of

ol’ time Christian conduct which,

unfortunately made them feel guilt

before they ever did anything wrong--

and when they failed your expectations,

you stripp’d them,

whipp’d, them,

justified your austere ways

with a sermon on of self-righteous living

that would start out something like

Shut up that cryin’--criers are weak, and the weak ain’t fit to live under my roof. . . See, what ya problem is--Is that you ain’t got ‘nough Jesus in ya yet, so if I'se to make room for the Lord in your life, then He expect me to beat the devil outta the temple where the Lord’s spirit need to be.

and perry franklin’s children would bleed as he wav’d his bible in one hand, and his divining rod in the other, pretending that he knew how to rightly divide the words of his own truth:

. . .No matter what your problem is, If'n you repent from your weaken’d ways,The Lord above's sho to have some mercy on y'all, and maybe, just maybe will reckon to save yo sorry souls from hell, just-a-like my papa done me to me. . . His mercy endureth forever. . .

so I gots no choice but to use the Lord God's correctin' rod just like Moses beat the rock and drew the cleanin' waters, I gots no choice but beat every last bit-a-hell outta y'all's sin sick souls. . .

well that’s all well and good,

perhaps logical for some other twist'd lives, but see

my problem can never become a thing

of perry franklin's past mistakes, unless of course

i one day come to realize this:

Even though you tried to turn the skin of

your indigo children from beautiful black to

melancholy blue, my problem has always

and forever will be haunting,

'til the day my spirit flies away, and

in your heritage i will be mindful

of my lack of perfection,

and i must starve this portion

of my dominican blacken'd soul

remembering your misplaced affection

staring back at me from your fading picture. . .

contemplating with much conjecture

how anyone, even those who tried to love you

could rise above this story of horror

. . . yet i cannot reject the notion that

i would not be around to even write this

and if your nature somehow refused to rise

and your chromosome miss'd its target

these words would never be set

from mind to mission, so in keeping with the tradition,

none of my own shall ever bear the traces of your name.

for i myself am the result of imperfect children,

i too am a less-than-profound legacy

left to embrace whatever love is left

among the ones progeny of

perry franklin’s children

© 2005 cynth'ya lewis reed

all rights reserved.

Corporal Punishment of Children -- Spanking

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Reviewed by E. Richardson
Wonderful...simply wonderful! A truly excellent piece of work. I agree with the others here...if this has not been sent somewhere for possible publication, it should be.
Reviewed by Mitzi Jackson
this is beyond words!!!
done with such a dignity
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen
Powerful message, Keep up the great writing
I agree withTwinFlame this should be published
God Bless
Michelle R Kidwell!
Reviewed by Vesna Vanessa
THIS should be published..period!!!!!

I am in awe...
the message is of forgiveness..OMG! This truly has touched my soul...

Vesna :)
Reviewed by Tracey L. O' Very (Reader)
Very Powerful message. The story told so well. What i like best about this is that you mention how it was not continued on in the ones that were abused. Very powerful Message in that. Abused does not give them the excuse to abuse! Very good!
Thank You
Love Tracey
Reviewed by Eddie Thompson
my own childhood stirred within its safe cave today...moving.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner

An excellent, chilling, haunting write that will linger for a while, and a POWERFUL clarion call for change. You and I are kind of on the same page today...the abuse must stop. NOW.

I pray you continue to find healing through your writing--it takes a special kind of courage to overcome the adversity you so obviously faced. My prayers are with you, Cynth'ya--pray for me, too. :(

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla. :(
Reviewed by Regis Auffray
Painful truths expressed but also a message of hope for the future. Thank you for sharing this offering, Cynth'ya. Love and peace. Regis
Reviewed by Carole Mathys
This is such a powerful, haunting write, your family grew beyond this distructive cycle in which they lived...with God's help and great inner strength....stunning write..

Peace, Carole
Reviewed by Sherry Heim
Reading this quieted my voice, Cynth'ya. There is nothing I can say other than we are all a part of where we came from. You have learned well the lesson, as it appears his children had. It is impossible for me to ever understanding beating children until they are black and blue, no matter their assumed sins. Strong, overpowering write. Stark images and emotions that made me feel as though I was suffocating within them. You are an excellent writer.
Take care,
Reviewed by George Jackson
Cynth'ya, a powerful, heartwrenching poem I won't soon forget.
Reviewed by Janet Parker
This is wonderful, Cynth'ya. So purging. And it is a miracle that the pattern was broken. Praise God for that!
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