Spoken word artist Lloyd Garrison returns to remind us that we must address children living in poverty

My Shoes Are Heavy 

I wish more adults had a heart that includes enough blood 
to show someone else’s kid some love.
Right now
that’s all I need. 

I know you would never guess my story 
by just looking at me 
even if I gave you a million tries,
but I need someone who at least tries 
to understand me. 

Have you ever wondered 
where your next pair of shoes will come from? 
Have you ever experienced 
parents walking out of your life? 
Have you ever thought 
where you will sleep at night? 

I have and 
I still have nightmares. 
I guess that is what my Therapist meant by Trauma. 
The truth is…
I have enough trauma for two. 

Did you know I’ve been missing for over 24 hours? 
It’s not too late to send out an Amber alert, 
but someone not wearing a badge 
or riding around in an unmarked car 
should already know where I am. 

Why does it feel like I’m the problem? 
All I know is
my shoes are heavy, 
my laces are tight, 
something just ain’t right. 

My days and nights are spent feeling 
unappreciated, 
under-valued, 
and set apart.

Most of them haven’t even earned the right 
for someone to buy them a play-station 4…
while kids like me are trying to do the right things…
but I’m still broke and poor. 

Trade places with me…
I am so tired of meeting new people 
who keep barking out instructions at me 
like I’m a dog…

truth is:
I would give anything to be someone’s pet 
at least I would have a consistent roof over my head. 

I’m not a bad kid…
I just need some seasoning…
better yet, a reason to not run away again to hide my pain. 

Most of the adults I’ve seen 
seem more interested in shooting dice 
than being nice 
to a kid like me.

I could just use a hamburger and a soda every now and then…
is that too much to ask?
Even though my school record says D’s and F’s, 
my grades are the least of my concerns. 
My life is a pass/fail course…
you either learn how to survive 
or you die in the streets. 

And who will care? 
There is no premium on a kid’s life anymore.
There are millions of kids out there just like me…

but do I make the cut coach? 
I am sure you can find some time for me, can’t you? 
You got cable, cars, and houses.
I don’t even have 
an internet connection, 
a computer, 
a tablet, 
a TV, 
even a bed that I can call my own. 

Don’t get it twisted let me hold these J’s you see on my feet…
I just don’t want people to think I’m poor.
When you are used to being sent 
to different group homes, treatment facilities, foster homes, and schools 
as much as I am…
you get numb…
and your heart gets cold.  

Don’t feel sorry for me.
I am taking steps to turn my life around.
Things won’t always be this way. 
Don’t think for a second that I’m asking you for a handout.
All I want is a hand-up
I can stand on my own 2 feet. 

I just need 
someone who cares
someone that will do more than just stare at me
and watch me skip school….
someone that will take time out of their busy day
to see the truth about me: 

my heavy shoes are what’s really weighing me down.

©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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