They wake in the morning by alarm, kiss or coffee

Rising they wash, dress and scan the day,

Some with money and some with honey

That others give them along the way.

You see them in cars driving on Harlem

On roadsides holding a cardboard sign,

Blessings are given to show there’s no problem

Relief flows freely; both givers feel fine. 

And into the air an energy trembles

Fragile, uncertain, but strong in its roar,

People together from past assemblies

Arriving as one on our freedom shore.

Ordinary people play sports that seem strange,

Pepper eaters, yoyo players, and jumping frogs.

We love these champions; don’t ever change

We want to admire your dancing dogs.

We enjoy the progress our neighbors provide,

Admire dedication with hours of training

Willing to show not embarrassed to hide,

The days and months we still have remaining,

Are precious with glory to show we’re alive.

The infrastructure so carefully crafted,

That oft turns chaos into terrible death

Still upholds in times of dissent and is lifted,

By ordinary people; one decisive breath.

On carries the work of cleaning, and serving,

Of smiling at carriers ever on their feet,

We know the ones who are most deserving

Who walk in the quiet of a midnight street.

We know the ones who carry on being

The ones who accept the burden of life,

Who strive to stand and keep on going

When it’s ever so hard to ignore the strife.

And then to bed these ordinary people

These unsung heroes who throughout the day,

Have carried the burden of raising our children

On money we struggle to even call pay.

Of healing the sick, and baring the duty

Of being the family looking on from afar,

Of showing beyond their gowns the beauty

That radiates glory amidst the fray.

To dream of a future where people are free

To shout out in contrast but minus the hate,

Where we can evolve and choose to agree

To discuss in the joy of sweet debate.

Val Gee

Oak Park

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