“Look, dad! That’s the man who read us the rap the other night,” squealed a youngster during a chance encounter. Then there was the church member. “Man, I’d pay you for some of them poems.” And the one time he and a friend was at a gas station and didn’t have enough money for something. “Don’t worry ’bout it man I’d take care of it.” He swaggers inside the store and recites a poem to the cashier. If she felt it was good, would she help him out? He got what he wanted plus a a couple of beers and pack of cigarettes. That’s my brother-in-law, William. Being a writer I’m a bit bias but I’ve always considered him a poetic genius. Not so much for the profoundness of his poetry, although some of his poems are quite profound, but that he can quite literally go in the back room and emerge within an hour with a poem or rap that will knock your socks off.
My brother-in-law has his demons but I truly believe if he had money he would figure out a way to reach today’s youth. For now he reads them his poetry and rap songs. Stuff to enlighten them and get them to focus on their books. I wish I could quote a few lines from the rap he recited last night. Teenagers could stand to hear more of the positive even if it’s coming from an older person. That’s another thing. William is getting up in age, as am I. The thought of a mountain of poetry languishing unseen unheard, is just wrong far as I’m concerned.
He tells me he reads and/or recites some of his poems at different venues in the small towns down there in Eastern NC. He receives voluminous accolades but his genius, in my opinion, remains trapped there in the small towns. He’s even written a manuscript, its never been typed, hundreds of rhyming pages telling a story about a country girl living in the city. Couple that with his many poems and the sky’s the limit if he’d just go for it. Not only that, with his gift of gab, the man doesn’t know a stranger, he would be a publisher’s dream. William would have no problem promoting himself. His account of the nun who liked one of his poems so much she made copies and they were later distributed.
Sometime, according to William, people who don’t know him and hear him recite one of his poems, are usually floored by his obvious talent. I said to him last night he’s got to get all of that work typed up and get it out there. Here are a couple of his poems he gave me years ago. One poem is on the original paper he wrote it. He was much younger and had hit a rough patch. Maybe that time in his life is partially responsible for the genius. It’s obvious he wrote from a dark place of pain. He said it was an attempt to ease the pain his parents were going through over the whole ordeal. Maybe he and my sister wasn’t married at the time. Anyway, he said it’s okay for me to show these two. They were scanned into PDFs. If you have Acrobat Reader, a click or two should reveal an image. Hopefully sometime in the not too distant future the world will hear more from this unlikely genius and others like him. Like diamonds in the rough they are among us. You probably know one or two yourself.