The submissions deadline is Friday, February 17, 2023.
Somewhere in the overloaded streets of Japan
on a humid summer day
lies a corner store, a seven-eleven
in walks an exotic,
maybe on vacation
or perhaps lives nearby
but he does not appear like a traditional Japanese man
the complete opposite, unforgettably
he walks the aisles row by row
the clerk glares at him, Tension rises
maybe it was the shade of his skin
perhaps his sheer size,
the counterfeit smile twisted
into an assumption.
because he looked black,
because he looked American
to the clerk, surely this foreign man only speaks English,
to the clerk, he only speaks danger.
With a forged welcome
“How can I help you”
his counterfeit smile,
maybe it was fear talking
Or perhaps instinct
“Are buying anything or just looking?”
disapproval bombs the store
Why am I, a black man,
in Japanese ground,
targeted like a terrorist?
Why do I, a bilingual human, feel
the unwelcomed ambush in my mother’s land?
maybe that’s just how it goes
or perhaps that’s how it shouldn’t
Create a legacy through art and writing.
Mr. Ross, Coach Young