Scott Owens – “I Would Not Deny It” – A Poem

I Would Not Deny It

International Civil Rights Center, Greensboro, NC

Walking through I cannot shake
these shadows of the past
hanging from trees, chastising,
You do not feel this strongly enough.

Yes, I fought my father.
Yes, I fought on the playgrounds
of Benhaven High School.
Yes, I befriended those that
friends and family refused to acknowledge.
Yes, I can pat myself on the back
that while the ones I fought
conveniently don’t remember
I, at least, refuse to deny it.
Yes, times have changed,
but your own past
is always still your present.

And there were times I held my tongue
in fear, outnumbered, overpowered.
There were times I gave in
to where I was from, times
I might have even said,
to fit in, avoid another fight,
sit in peace at home.
And that’s why I’m still
undeserving of this sacrifice,
of feeling I belong here,
feeling I was a part of this,
because I might have said a time
or two for my own selfish ease.