Donnell Perryman

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hands (he was over ninety years old), and the arthritic manifestations of his enduring efforts just to survive. The odd reason that I studied his hands, and not the countless lines of struggle and sacrifice reflected by the deep crevices in his brow and battered countenance— I wanted candy. I waited, with high expectations, for him to reach into his pocket and gather the assortment of coins he had, to disperse among his grandchildren. I would then run bare-footed, down an old country lane to purchase candy, with the precious dimeor nickel I had in my possession. From a child’s perspective, that is why I struggle to visualize my grandfather’s face, even today. Here before me stood a walking history book of early American slave culture, with a unique conception and knowledge of a by-gone generational abnormality, and all that I wanted was candy. That in itself should have been the absolute reason that I dedicated my poetry book to my grandfather. Yet still, I remember his hands. The notion that I continue to foster and promote in my book, is the idea that we are all children of God, regardless of religious order, denomination, or faith. We are all imperfect beings, as I have stated earlier, trying desperately just to live, to survive, to make sense of our existence— a primordial call deep within us that calls for action in the face of adversity. Most of us realize that in life we are more apt to receive a blow than a reward. I believe that God watches us to see how we will respond to various situations in our lives. And in some instances, as with my grandfather, life can be unusually cruel and harsh, with elements of complexity that stagger even the most hardened among us. That is why we counter these overbearing notions with love— the great equalizer, given to us by God. You can’t reach him through your intellect, your insightful discourse, your

theoretical, metaphysical calculations, or your privileged, contrived wealth. You can only connect with God through your heart— a heart to heart connection in which we discover the true meaning of life, our existence, and our worth as human beings. In my poetry, I try to make that connection, to identify and magnify that bond between man and his creator, to show that we are more than the sum of our flawed and misguided intellects, more than our pathetic, amoebic deductions on the origins of our existence—we are all children of God; slave or freeman, rich or poor, Christian or Muslim. This is the true message that I try to reveal and display with my poetry, not just love but hope for this ‘trainwreck’ of humanity we call mankind.

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PAPER Clips | ISSUE NO. 43

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