Personal Statement

c/o 2010

I sit at my computer. I allow my conscience to marinate some of my best qualities and passions into my fingers — I begin typing. I enable my mind to go through this vigorous hard-laboring pain of molding my love for basketball into words. It is a love compiled of harsh metaphors and unimaginable personifications. Basketball is my poetry; my words wrap the ball like Spalding. Anything I am able to write on is my canvas, and any court, concrete, wooden or rubber I am able to play on. Half a piece of paper cannot stop me from expressing myself, and half of a court will not stop me from playing to my maximum potential. An empty pen and a flat ball will not dictate my future.

One night I dreamed so close to reality, I almost did not wake up. The announcer was calling out my teammates. Maya Angelou was the point guard, because she threw the most creative behind-the-back passes that ignorance could never capture– a true definition of The Heart of a Woman. At shooting guard appeared Alice Walker because her explanation of living as a black woman in America is perfect. She continues to put up shots. Hatred’s hand tries to contest the shot, only to fail and become the reason her eye has turned The Color Purple. As I gazed toward our locker room door I had to blink twice, because through those doors shone The Beloved power forward, Toni Morrison. She was ready to box-out all who would try to annihilate our chance to score, and to restore our rights as a culture. Right after her came Gwendolyn Brooks, the center, helping rebound our “Black Love” when the direction of the love and respect is unpredictable. She is the backbone and the strength of our team’s pride. I stand integrity as the small forward the smallest punctuation being the biggest part of the sentence. I call a huddle at half-court, and we all place our hands in the middle. Five minds, five hearts, five different personalities defined as one team. We all cross-over to a new chapter in the same book of life. The scoreboard buzzes, and I go to grab a last drink before the game resumes; only the last time I blinked, I opened my eyes only to find I was staring blissfully at my ceiling.

Every poet/author in my dream has taught me to be culturally and self aware. In basketball they say “practice makes perfect”, and in writing perfect practice makes an incredible writer.  So in every practice I allow my writing utensil to dribble my emotions across each page with sentences like quick passes, and every stanza is another quarter I’ve given my all. Each time I step onto the court all troubles seem to cease. The ball is a symbol of life. I know that the ball gets passed around to people and sometimes even plagiarized and mistreated. I understand the players in my life may come and go, some people may pass a way, but the lessons they have taught me are still invaluable.

 

-The Graduate
-Leighrick

Gem-In-Eye

I wrote this exactly 3 years ago 6/10/10 for my little sister when she was a Freshman and I was a Senior in H.S. Once a teammate always family…. On June 10th, 2013 — she turned 18 years old, has gone to prom, graduated high school, and is now going off to college. My…how time flies! I love you Lil Mama!

For Dominique,

When I look in the mirror I see you.
June is the month…twins are the symbol.
You are my kindness when I’m angry.
The smile to my frown.
The understanding of my peculiarity.

The soundtrack of your laughter drowns out all my sorrows,
And if it wasn’t for you, I’d barely be able to look forward to tomorrow.

We favor Big Heads, Small Eyes, Light-Brown Skin, and Deep hearts.

Your are the mini me, from our first conversation I felt you were long lost kin to me.

I look deeper into the mirror and I see more of you.
I see the Gym-In-Eye… And I’ve tried to make some sense of 15 but sometimes I just end up a nickle short.

My twin minus 10…plus 4…equals 14.

The frame for this mirror cannot uphold this much innocence.
I check my outfit and today..I want to wear my heart on my sleeve, so today when everyone reads my shirt it’ll read, “Dominique”

As I put my hand up to touch the mirror…I gaze into the warmth of the brown.
And this I see a Gem-In-[my]Eye.

Last night I dreamed a stork delivered you to the house I call a gym.
Your basket was made of orange leather, your pillow comforts your strength, I unravel your blanket of confidence, and change your diaper because it has absorbed all of your weakness. I dress you with a shirt that reads, “teach me“. Your first steps were you driving, and your first words were good game, and many times I’ve seen you destroy all odds that were against you.

I’ve comforted you when you cried about being in the middle, which is a sign you’ll make it top the top. With your head held high, determination of your heart, the guidance of your mind, and eyes locked on your destination.

But then,I sat with you in the middle of the court, holding you in my arms. I watched you sleep…exhaling your doubts and worries, and inhaling your humility.

Around you is where I can always find the peace in me, and discover a piece of me…You.

I wrote you this poem, so like a mirror when you look into it your able to see me even when I’m not present.
I’ve given you this gift; however, this is not a poem, but a mirror.

So when you look into the words you see your pupils.
And when you look deeper you’ll see your pupils just as I see you when I look through the mirror.

Hopefully when you read this you can hear me laugh when your down, see me dancing the days you’re feeling worn out, and hear me go “Who Cares?” when that special times comes around.

And to end this poem, I take one last look in the mirror, and focus on my eye and every time I do..I’ll see not a diamond, nor a pearl, or a ruby, I just see you my Gem-In-Eye.

Love Always,

Leighrick