Friday, July 19, 2013

Camp Hope

They collected
Poor kids
From Paterson
In big yellow buses
In front
Of the big
White county building
Near the rail yards
I walked daily
When I felt alone,
Counselors cackling
Like frustrated hens
At the sons and daughters
Of families too socially
Unacceptable to
Attend real camps,
This ride to West Milford
Our version of a freedom ride,
Fleeing the shootings
On the streets rather
Than heading into them,
We ghetto kids
Getting our taste of country
None of us believed
Was real,
Stranger than Disneyland,
Something out
Of the serial westerns
We caught on TV
Each early Saturday morning,
We mistook for Science Fiction
Another planet
Full of poison ivy
And mosquitoes
And other blood sucking bugs
We had no names for,
With two weeks worth
Of planned events
Songs around the camp fire,
Metal dishes filled
With alien grub,
And long nights of total dark
Filled not with gun shots
Our parents called back fires
Of cars,
But the buzz of something
Even stranger,
Something these people
Called natural,
From which it took
A whole year
Back in the hood for us
To recover from.

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