This poets autobiography
Old values were taught to me
The man had to work to support his family.
It was the time when the man was the household head
And the woman would cook, clean and sew
With very few places to go.
Where going to the pizza shop once a week
To us kids was the greatest treat.
The elderly you would always respect
Other wise a whopping you’d get.
As a kid there was no such thing as indignation
We’d do what ever we could for family salvation.
At the age of eight I was working in a grocery store
Taking empty deposit bottles to the basement floor.
At the age of ten I was working the supermarket line
Carrying customers groceries, and the tips were fine.
At the age of twelve I changed my tune
I got into the shoeshine boom.
I then made my own shoeshine box
Which I felt was really tops.
Made enough money to buy one custom made
Which put my little box to shame.
I would then take the train downtown
And I had the best box around.
I had gotten to be known as the spit shine king
With the shoes I could do most anything.
When I got into my teens
Gang members were the only thing seen.
So I joined the gangs just to survive
But I knew I’d leave it with time.
Five years of street gang fights
It didn’t matter, day or night.
During that time I enjoyed writing poetry
But this was something they could not see.
At the tender young age of eighteen
I made my escape or so it seemed.
I had joined the army in 62
Never realizing what I would go thru.
The early 60’s was the beginning
of race riots in the south
Which I knew nothing about.
But to Alabama, and Mississippi we would go
Just to put on a show. ( of force)
Then Vietnam was the undeclared war
And we would travel to their shores.
How much more could I take?
Now I had my life at stake
But I was fortunate
For I was there at the start
And six months later I would part.