HomeSouthern VoiceRoderick, if He Had Made it to 50

Roderick, if He Had Made it to 50

by Erren Geraud Kelly

For Roderick Wendell Kelly,  January 22, 1974-January 3, 2009

He would have gone back
and finished, exit tests are 
bullshit, he would’ve crushed
the high school exit test, and wrote
a paper on ernest hemingway’s
the sun also rises, that would’ve
left me mind-blown, he would’ve graduated
to dostoevsky, and sci-fi novels
i would have caught him with a harry
potter book and mocked him

muggles wouldn’t have much fun at hogwarts

He would’ve gone to college
i would’ve suggested L.S.U.
he would’ve picked an HBCU
cos he was about tradition
would’ve traded his hooptie
for a KIA, a late model
he would’ve dressed better
people who become upwardly mobile
should reflect the part
of course, he would let mama
drive it, he would carry himself
on crutches to class, and other
students would help, but he
he would be like the guy with
the artificial legs, in the IBM
commercial, playing basketball
who got knocked down, who
refused help to stand

“I got this,” he would yell, defiantly
and he would stand up, the ghosts
of richard wright, james baldwin, Martin
Luther King, And Obama, giving him strength

He would go go his classes, and not even
his condition would stop him from macking
up to girls, spitting game like 2Pac or B.I.G.
their music, playing in his ride, as he rode
through Baton Rouge, no longer just another
backwater town

He would fight the good fight and he would
suffer nobly, but he would win, like the New Orleans 
Saints, he brought his  “A”  game in the second half
and he prevailed

and he would carry himself to the
podium, to get his Batchelor’s Degree
Mama watching … Past Tense non-existent
Because he never like to feel left out of anything 
He would go back, and fight and win
and he would share his victory
with the Lord …

Erren Geraud Kelly is a two-time Pushcart-nominated poet from Lynn, Massachusetts, by way of Louisiana. He has been writing for 32 years and has over 300 publications in print and online. His work has been featured in publications like Hiram Poetry ReviewMudfishPoetry Magazine OnlineCeremonyCacti FurBitterzoetCactus Heart and others. Read his previous poems in Deep South here. This poem is in memory of his brother Roderick, who would have turned 50 this year.

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