Looking through their eyes

it was hard for me to walk

as I judged my walk

as stiff and “white”

and hated myself.

I saw myself

through their eyes

on the

Football field

Basketball court

Baseball diamond

Hell of high-school gym class

stumbling around

in ignorance of the rules

and fear of the hurtling spheres

and I judged myself

a  useless faggot.

I saw myself through their eyes

talking to white kids

and it appeared both

that I hated being black

and that I was better

than those black faces

watching me.

I saw myself in my

outdated boot-cut jeans

and leather jacket

as a nerd and

a freak.

Something beyond

explanation.

I saw my delicate face

and thin limbs

and heard my “proper” talk

and saw myself as

a victim waiting to happen.

I saw my thin frame

trying to remain invisible

as I walked the halls

between classes

only to wind up hunched

over a spiral binder

drawing comics, while

the teacher talked on about

Algebra.

Through their eyes

I saw myself walking

stiffly to the stage

in my graduation gown

to the deafening sound

of no applause.

And later, through other eyes I saw

my nappy hair and

full lips

set against

the sea of punk rockers

all white.

I saw myself trying to be

punker than them

to camouflage the blackness.

Through their eyes

I saw a strange dreadlocked

black man in an elevator

maybe a rapist

or robber

probably ignorant.

For 40 years I missed

everything that was

right in front of me.

half my life sacrificed

to the beast with a million eyes.

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