Old Times By Deonte Osayande

Old Times

Why did I begin
to like cheese is
a question that is too
easy for me to answer.

Your fried chicken tasted
of ninety six, good times,
gym shorts and Sega Genesis,

my shoes all drawn on and my mom
in the kitchen. It takes me back

to a simpler time, mac & cheese, chicken
and greens, not a care in the world, I was
carefree. No zealots or bigots. No terrorists
or 9/11 or fear, just a young boy, his dinner

getting cold and sonic the hedgehog. Gotta
go faster was his catchphrase but I wish
I could have taken it and rushed back

to these peaceful moments of the past.
Asking me why I’m so fond of these

times, I try to tell myself
he’s a good guy. Growing
up together, played on the same

basketball courts with one another
but I can’t shake the badge, the uniform,
the betrayal, how someday I might just be
another black life to him on the other side

of the gun and he might remember
reasons to punish you. What happens
when that becomes him? When the gun

is pointed at him and he doesn’t have
enough time to pull out his badge
or show his ID. I wonder if black lives

will matter to him then, calling them
rowdy kids looking for something
to protest. Nobody notices how

protesters don’t riot when murderers die,
but when an innocent man is killed instead.

By Deonte Osayande


Deonte Osayande is a former track and field sprinter turned writer from Detroit, Mi. He writes nonfiction essays and his poems have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, a Pushcart Prize and published in numerous publications. He has represented Detroit at multiple National Poetry Slam competitions. He’s currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College, and teaching youth through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program. His first full collection of poems entitled Class, is now out with Urban Farmhouse Press.

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