How I Learned to Carry Onwards and Raise Myself

Facing It, Prisoners, Slam, Dunk, & Hook. Man, poet, and veteran Yusef Komunyakaa wrote these poems, and thus helped me, and most possibly others, gain the confidence to progress onward, work for growth rather than gain, and to unify with others rather than stay in one, singular, tribe of like minded people.

How did it help me and not simply contribute to some knowledge that had already been solidified? It came at a most opportune time, when I am planning to attend University away from home, away from the family that I have experienced so many emotional gyres with that it seemed I have lived multiple lives up to this point in time. Komunyakaa’s message of darkness connected with thoughts I have had about life at certain point and his ability to say that it is possible to move onward through this gives me the ability to do the same. In Prisoners Komunyakaa speaks of the craziness and psychotic aspects of interrogation.  He mentions the teetering of prisoners as they leave they are pushed, led, and herded down to the interrogation room from the helipad. However, at the end of this dark, gloomy, negative description he speaks of leaving the situation, albeit with a crazed pilot, into a different situation. This prompted me to think of how there exists from time to time crazy situations of which we can do nothing but stay situated and stare at its difference. There exists times when one can escape but struggles to because the drastic difference of the situation keeps them from doing so.  This tells me that even though I have been in my hometown for a while, it is time to leave the craziness of this town and thus enter into the unknown metroplex.

In Slam, Dunk, & Hook, Komunyakaa illustrates his childhood and how African-American children went to basketball as a source of help, positivity , and nourishment.  This poem in particular reminded me of my afternoon reveries and how I found bliss when i went within my mind, when I thought beyond the boundaries of the physical limitations, when i entered into the mental Shangri La that is what most people call daydreaming but I call hypothesizing, calculating, and theorizing. Yusef Komunuakaa speaks of how terrible occurrences throughout one of his friends day caused the friend to play basketball continuously. When I was experiencing harship and lonesomeness in school I resorted to reading and introspection. Not simply reading a few articles from Scientific American or a poem from The Poetry Foundation, but books, textbooks, novels, and exposés on the most intriguing topics. As for the introspection, I would spend lengthy periods of time sitting atop of a chair and simply thinking. It was a deeper form of thinking though. The act I am describing is a kind of search within a massive ocean, as if I am a singular swimmer in the Pacific and my treasure is at a midpoint in the ocean a thousand, a million, a trillion billion miles away. I would calculate the factors that occurred within my day and try to obtain a positive answer, though it was hard to find an answer that was not entirely extraneous to reality. However I remember the words from Facing It, now when I think of that time and how I persevered, “I am stone. I am flesh.”

Lastly, Komunyakaa teaches me that I can unite with those of the opposite gender, color, religion, philsophy, education, lifestyle, economic class, and social choices. Yusef Komunyakaa, by identifying with some of life’s universal conepts told me that unity among all is possible, that humanity is universal in its existence, not a singularity that is known truthfully by only a few viewpoints.


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