Spoken word artist Lloyd Garrison is back again, this time reminding us of something we often forget or deliberately ignore. Everyone is living a story, the full details of which aren’t always obvious. And everyone faces struggles and difficulties that we don’t, and can’t possibly know. Mr. Garrison gives at least one view of how we can overcome these things.

This Hill

I am standing
on this hill,
locking arms with millions of brave men and women
of all races and different faces
who have given me
the motivation, determination, and support
to continue pushing forward
even when I could have given up
a long time ago.

You have served as my reason for remaining focused
on my journey to prove
myself right
and the doubters like you
wrong. 

To this day, I still can’t understand why they left me for
HIM
HER
THEM,
I kept going despite some people 
saying “I wasn’t good enough" 
or "I was wasting my time." 

I am not ashamed to admit there were times 
where I felt alone with no 
where to go, 
but your presence allowed me to see light in dark

I have respect for the man or woman
who is not afraid to humble themselves and ask 
for what they lack…
not everyone has their shit together
not everyone can choose between living in the suburbs
or sleeping underneath a bridge. 

The meal that defined my youth:
Fish sticks, crinkle cut fries, and orange soda
now represents the hill I had to climb to arrive at my today. 

Universities don’t give out degrees for overcoming adversity, 
otherwise millions would have plaques on their walls. 

I may not be in the terminal yet…
but the plane I am flying now has a destination. 
All those nights I stayed up wondering

how

if

when
 
were only setting my rise. 

You can wipe the blood, sweat, and tears off my face,
I knew my journey was never promised to be easy.
But I am on this hill
so we can stand on the same level…
I’m not saying I am better than you
or anyone else…
I just want to officially introduce you to 
the person you doubted for all these years
the person you said would never finish school while taking care of 2 kids,
the person you said would never come back stronger after that horrific car crash almost took me out, 
the person you thought was done once my ex-left, 
the person you placed limitations on due to my gender, 
the person you assumed was no competition 
because you confused age with ability.

I am on this hill to make the picture clear 
to you 
to your face.
I am not afraid, 
I am not less fortunate, 
I am not less deserving, 
I am not less equipped,
I am not less willing to conquer whatever obstacles you place in front of me. 

I am happy. 
I am the new owner of a bright future, 
a successful present, 
and a past filled with smoke.
I am leaving it
where it belongs: 
in my rearview mirror.

©Lloyd Garrison – 2021

*****

Mr. Lloyd L. Garrison is the CEO of Hidden G.E.M.S. by LG. Lloyd received his Bachelor of Arts (2001) and Master of Arts (2005) degrees in English from Miami University in Oxford, Oh. LLoyd’s goal is to spread messages of hope, love, peace, and truth through the power of the spoken word.  

*****

For the first 100 days of the Biden administration, this website will feature a new poem of What’s Next!? These pieces can be calls to action, calls to attention, or calls to anger. They will light the way and guide the fight. They will get us moving and keep our momentum. They will be filled with hope, with anger, with sorrow. They will get us into good trouble and point out the trouble we need to stop. They will be polished gems, or rough-cut drafts of rage, or in-process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered.

#100Days100Poems of What’s Next!? wants your poems, your prose, your visual art (photos, drawings, sculptures), your music, your short films and animations. Interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like.

If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with your visual art (as .jpg or .pdf) or your poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. Include a short bio (2-3 sentences) and social media/website information. All rights remain with the author. Please address any formatting preferences in your email. Waxyandpoetic.com will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day beginning 20 January 2021. Read, follow, share, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !

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