From Chicken Soup for the African American Soul

At the End of My Block

Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change.

Jesse Jackson

My beautiful sisters, frying their brains, going insane, right at the end of my block.

My exquisite brothers, exterminating, terminating and self-assassinating, all for the sake of the rock, at the end of my block.

Mommas being robbed on my back doorstep;
babies being killed at my feet; brothers executing brothers on my front lawn; someone’s grandfather is dying from not enough to eat, right at the end of my block.

What is this bizarre, demented, deranged and insane occurrence? This is life, breath and existence in my world, at the end of my block?

Huh, no this ain’t no day in hell.

No, this ain’t no day in jail.

No this isn’t even a day down skid row.

This is a day on my block.

Should I run? Should I hide?

Should I leave? I want to cry.

Should I become a part of the problem?

Lord, how do I become a part of the solution?

Alls I know is that on my block, I am a part of, and I will stand strong and tall, not to buckle and not to fall, for I am a quilt sewn from the backbones of my great mothers. For I am not just a descendent of . . . I am a descendent of greatness, manifested from the pain, suffering, tears and lives of my great ancestors. For I am an all-purpose cleaner, working day and night to scrub away the spot, to eliminate the stain and remove the pain that sits at the end of my block.

Lisa Nichols

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