Renaissance walk

                         A homage to Langston Hughes

by Jaime Luna

The instructions were,

          If you do not have health insurance,
          Take one step back.
          If English was not your first language,
          Take one step back
          If you grew up in an area with crime and drug activity,
          Take one step back

This a lesson in privilege, said the instructor.
Reflect and discuss, its social justice we’re after.

Is this really justice?
This thing they call the privilege walk?
I reflect as I stare at everyone’s back.

I’m thirty– No, I’m eighteen years old
living in Monroe, Washington.
Almost ten years since moving from California.
It’s my first semester in college.
I take two buses, I get there in an hour,
sometimes more.
I come home from work, do my homework
Then I can’t sleep, so I write this page:

When I dream, must I dream a dream deferred?
I have an intelligent mind, I’m able-bodied
Indulge in the arts, study rigorously-
Yet I must take one step back?
My sights are towards the front,
should my steps not follow?

But I do take steps forward
and walk my shoes, where I choose,
just like they do
When I walk is it not a privilege to walk?
I suppose often not, I suppose often
I walk by, they need only standby
They walk by, I must run by- Shh!
Should I tiptoe to reach my dreams before I wake?
Allow me to just walk for walking’s sake!
Perhaps they’ll even look to me
when the elevator fails
For I know the way to the stairs

It’s more likely I’ll tire and fail
But I’ve come too far
to take one step- where?
Only the horizon
may send my forward-steps back

This is my renaissance walk.

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