From One Brother, To Another

part one: the condition

Here is a story about two black men:
One, Jack Daniels; the other, Tom Collins.
Jack and Tom came up in the “hood”
Depressed by dynamics
That they’ve never understood.

The “Basics” of life were “Everclear”:
Quick money, “fast” women and drinking beer.
Occasionally, the two would stand on the block
And be impressed by the pusher sellin’ “rock.”
They thought it a blessing
To get a glimpse of the ladies
Through the tinted windows
Of the gold Mercedes.

They eventually skipped school
To hang on the corner and drink Bull.
And when in school,
They roamed the halls
In fashion and style,
Intimidating others
And being buck-wild.

They fed their egomaniacal attitudes
By being obnoxious, vulgar and rude.
The first rule of life was to be paid;
The second, to be “laid.”

Notwithstanding their crude and selfish creed,
They attracted many girls who bore their seed.
This—one version of the American dream—
Is really a portrayal of the lack of self-esteem.

Part two: the problem

Brothers burning out brothers’ minds—
One brother in the grave, another doing time.
Sisters looking in all the wrong places
For an illusion of love, affection and praises.
Brothers scheming to get the sisters in bed,
When they should be in the classroom
Using their “head”.

Jack and Tom,
Both spiritually dead—
Compromising their souls to get ahead—
Have not only jeopardized their souls
They have countered our goals.
They have mocked the visions
Of our heroes and martyrs,
And turned our dreams
Into tales of horrors.

From Douglass, Dubois and Booker T. Washington,
To Garvey, Locke, Malcolm and Martin,
We have reaped the rewards of our self-determination.
But now we sow the seeds of self-devastation.

The black family within the church,
Once our strongest institution,
Has been severely weakened by immoral intrusion.
Parents have turned their butts to God.
Moreover, they’ve spared their children the rod.
And children have been tainted by materialism,
Adding to the prevalent spiritual schism.

Television forms the values of many,
Glorifying the sinful ways of the enemy.
And adding to the ambiance
Of our present day woe
Are the irreverent lyrics on the radio.

Spending too much time on Nintendo and Sega Genesis—
Priorities, brother—where is your emphasis?
Your goals are not set within electronic comics.
You aint no hedgehog. Your name aint Sonic.

Brother, you are so utterly blind
That you can’t even see your own scrambled mind.
You’re just another brother gone bonkers,
Living out the legacy of divide and conquer.

Part three: the solution

I ask, “What will it take to improve our condition—
Turn legions of puppets into soldiers of vision?
Educational and economic reforms come to mind—
Yes! They’ll help us get out of this bind.
But this is but a piece of my own perspective.
We must discern our divine directive.

Historical truths and knowledge is keen,
But you must trod where others have been.
The road to recovery is not without cost.
You must repent and pick up the cross.
You may gain the world by satisfying your sinful desire.
But the cost will be your soul being cast in eternal fire.

To overcome your spiritual crisis,
You must abstain from meaningless vices.
You must consent to your spiritual immersion—
Purge yourself of worldly perversion.
And after ascending
From the watery grave of baptism,
You must re-assess
The value of your earthly wisdom.

Continue to adhere to your worldly views
And you will slowly dig your own grave.
Heed the Voice of God’s Holy Spirit
And you will ensure your place among the saved.

You may as well dig that hole, and jump in it,
If you fail to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit…
…And as I stand above your grave
In divine contemplation,
I will remark how another soul has lost salvation.

From Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust,
I will close my eyes in pity
And shake my head in disgust.
“If only he had listened, I will say to myself,
“But now he must suffer an eternal death.”

But if you follow the narrow road
That few will ultimately pass,
In front of the throne of Almighty God,
My brother, you will stand at last.

The Lamb will turn the pages
Of the book of life,
And will undoubtedly find your name.
“Well done my good and faithful servant”.
Jesus will surely proclaim.



by Phillip McCullough Jr.

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