Never Been…by Tyrone Vincent Banks (poetry contest entry)
by Tyrone Vincent Banks
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
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A commentary on growing up to be an individual and finding oneself through God.
You know…I've never been cool enough
Never been that guy that they look at to decide what's cool
But more like that guy they look to…to see what's not
I was the one in the middle of that class, until I decided that sitting in the front
…. just might keep me awake.
I was the one that they all overlooked
I was the one capable of standing in front of someone who closes the door in my face
Because they don't see me.
And no, I haven't gotten over that yet.
Never had that expensive car to drive
I drove the Chevette while he drove the Corvette
I wore the silver while he wore the gold
He had a Gerry curl and I had the shag
That's one wise choice that I made…
Never had that reputation for being anyone other than "that guy who looses his temper"
I've never been truly secure in who I am and who I may still become
Never been up on that stage slammin'
I'd much rather recite
It took me 33 years to find my inspiration
And only 33 seconds to forget where it came from
Never been black enough
Never been street enough
Accused of not sounding black when I talk
Not being black enough in the way that I walk
Not using slang to make a good point
I learned to say, "No thank you" as they passed me that joint
That urban peace pipe, the thing that unites
It took me 18 years to figure out that weed wasn't right
Never been slim enough and too wide for my size
For a while I felt unworthy to be viewed by your eyes
Never been that good on the basketball court
Never been interested in too many sports
While they played outside, inside is where I'd hide behind a computer screen
For days at a time I wouldn't be seen
I didn't have to be alone, that was my choice ; there was so much to be done
I snapped out of it finally and lost weight, learned to walk and then run
Slowly the real me was emerging I tried to change my image
I wanted to be like everyone else, I wanted the designer jeans
I wanted money, I wanted fame
I wanted love; I wanted a car that no one would laugh at
I wanted respect…
I wanted to escape; it was too much to take
Just when I reinvented myself I had to change once again
I found peace in education
I found solace in books
I found out that a person could be so much more than their looks
I learned to love myself and embrace any challenge
Between violence and non-violence there had to be a balance
My parents introduced me to God, and now I finally see
God has always and will forever be there for me.