When one bakes with diversity,
add 3 cups of humility,
and take a long taste of Chocolate City.
Listen to some go-go.
Watch a young man dance before the coffin of his grandma in a love show.
Hear the song of joy and grief.
Add 3 tablespoons of the river Anacostia.
The change in your pallette may very well cost ya
and there could be some heart burn
as you listen and re-learn
to really breathe
because trying to mute DC is a form of hypoxia.
What you been cooking up doesn’t make much sense.
It’s time to use some different ingredients.
Maybe a little less salt.
And a lot more pepper.
Because this is more than grabbing a chili dog from Ben’s Chili Bowl.
What good is soul food if you’ve lost your soul?
Today, at this moment, I sit on the bench in the park where I walked 20 years ago. Back then I captured the place with a piece I wrote called Street Secrets.
This neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant has changed. But this park beneath the church towers has stayed the same, right down to the graffiti-scrawled benches and gum-stained paver stones. I wonder if the homeless men still gather here at night for a meal.
The pedestrians seem younger and of a paler hue. La Raza is represented but not like it used to be.
Do these newcomers know the history of this place that they now call home?
Here is where I told the man to let her go.
Here is where I stood between two gangs at the drop in center.
Here is where I taught them to play chess.
Here is where I mourned Walter.
Here is where the cop cars were torched.
Here is where the tear gas fell as I kept the youth at bay.
Here is where I walked 20 years ago past the bench where I sit today.