On-Sight: My First Big XII Conference

a poem by Ralvell Rogers II

I was numb to all the beautiful black people,
who filled the auditorium
who I came from
before Rockhurst and Emporia.

I’m sure some of them can relate,
but my advisor knows
I haven’t had this feeling since
I was in the eighth grade–
the euphoria of being in a sea of darkness,
and everything somehow being impossible
and possible at the same time.

Whistles blowin’ with cadence calls,
we swaggin’ to the beat,
swayin’ slow with locked arms,
and surfin’ side to side
with no reasons for alarm.

I sit back
and just
watch us
be us
for us.

My advisor taps me back to reality sayin’,
“Are you okay?”
because I’ve barely moved
since we stepped in the building.

And I only nod assuringly,
so I can get back
to the restoration of life
active in front of me,

where I couldn’t help but watch,
and I couldn’t help but think.
My Hair, My Life

Yo reaction to my hair
is my reaction to my strife.
How big it got is like the bigots
constant in my life.

Yo reaction to my hair
is my reaction to racism,
nappy and twisted
like new racism that’s hidden.

Yo reaction to my hair
is my reaction in bold,

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