I had everything and luck: Rings of smoke
blown for me; sunlight safe inside the leaves
of cottonwoods; pure, simple harmonies
of church music, echoes of slave songs; scraps
of candy wrappers — airborne. Everything.
Mother and father, brother, aunts, uncles;
chores and schoolwork and playtime. Everything.

I was given gloves against winter cold.
I was made to wear gloves when I gardened.
I was made to garden; taught to hold forks
in my left hand when cutting, in my right
when bringing food to my mouth. Everything.

I had clothes I was told not to wear outside;
a face you could clean up almost handsome;
I had friends to fight with and secrets, spread
all over the neighborhood; the best teachers,
white and colored. I’m not making this up.
I knew that I had everything. Still do.

Analysis, meaning and summary of G.E. Patterson's poem Autobiographia

2 Comments

  1. rosa thomas says:

    This man doesn’t need to stop writing, plus he has the most delightful smile 🙂 !!!

  2. ahohney says:

    this poem hits straight to the heart yo. i love this hombre.

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