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Omanii Abdullah
Poet

 


I have no boundaries
In this city of my birth
I, too, roam freely

So often in the city, young people feel confined by either their schools, their living situation, or lack of employment, or under-employment, and so forth. I don't think you should use that as a barrier. Don't let that be a fence around you.

So when I wrote this haiku, I was thinking, "I'm a product of the inner city, but it didn't control me, I was in control of my destiny." You have to have a plan. It's like reaching a fork in the road. You look at this fork, and you say, "Which road am I going to choose?" The one filled with vice, negativity, and so forth? It may look alluring. But you've got to have the stamina within yourself to say, "I think I'll opt for the other road." It might be a rocky road -- even at my age, my road is still somewhat rocky. So you persevere.

I am from the hood
The hood did not enslave me
I am my master


I didn't grow up in a housing project. I came from a two-parent household on the west side of Syracuse. But if I were to visualize this poem, I would visualize me, standing in a project, with chains all around me. One chain might be drugs, another might be prostitution, or alcoholism. Different vices for each chain. I'd have my hand pointing to my head. My head would be like a lock, and my hand like a key. With knowledge, I can sever those chains and move out of that situation.

I'm not stuck in that situation myself, but I have relatives who are. I talk to them. It's like, "Yeah, I know you're right, I have control over my destiny." Some of them act on it, some of them don't. Because many people need reinforcement, and they need to hear it from more than just one person.

I sold lemonade
Back when times were innocent
And not bittersweet

When I was 10 years old my mother had just had a baby. I wanted to buy a gift for my new little brother. I had this idea of selling lemonade. I bought my little brother some baby shoes with the money I made. This was in the 60s a somewhat carefree, innocent time in upstate New York. Fifty years later I am still selling lemonade at the New York State Fair. The times are quite different. You look at our surroundings and the world were living in today and you see that things are somewhat bittersweet. Were living in a very chaotic time. Maybe a glass of refreshing lemonade can bring that old feeling back--momentarily.

 

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