Notes of Two Rochester Native Sons
The New York State Literary Center’s Community Engagement Seminar
Monroe Correctional Facility
It began to seem that one would have to hold in the mind forever two ideas which seemed to be in opposition. The first idea was acceptance, the acceptance, totally without rancor, of life as it is, and men as they are: in light of this idea, it goes without saying that injustice is commonplace. But this does not mean that one could be complacent, for the second idea was of equal power: that one must never, in one’s own life, accept these injustices as commonplace but must fight them with all one’s strength. This fight begins, however, in the heart and it has now been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair. This intimation made my heart heavy and, now that my father was irrecoverable, I wished that he had been inside me so that I could have searched his face for the answers which only the future would give me now.
James Baldwin. “Notes of a Native Son.” The Price of The Ticket. New York: St. Martin’s / Marek, 1985.
NOTES OF A NATIVE SON
By Ronald Warnick
A Testament: My Journey
“Through me tell the story”
Homer, The Odyssey, Translated by Robert Fitzgerald
I am reflecting. Many things come into my mind on how history sheds light on today’s Black pain, and it reflects my life.
was swallowed whole
this nightmare repeats.
Black youth continue to be swallowed by the streets. Every night on the Rochester news mothers weep.
Black Lives Matter,
the price is cheap.
On the news every night throughout the world,
Black lives are taken in the streets.
Sometimes I am invisible when I am in plain view.
In my mind
no one, not even me, can see inside.
I cry right before your eyes
and you can’t see a tear trickle down my eyes.
My tears are all inside,
transparent to the physical eye.
I’ve become a master of how to hide,
a broken man, depressed, ready to die.
Look right at me
you can’t see I died right before your very eyes.
You never took a deep look into my eyes.
it’s my pride.
A man is not supposed to cry.
It’s a sign of weakness.
They are not going to see me cry!
I’ll hide my shame and pride from those who see only my outside
with drugs and alcohol.
I will never let you see me cry.
Only when I dig deep inside
is it obvious to me I cannot hide
(click here to continue reading)