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Poetry Confessions: Tea Time with Flint’s first poet laureate-Dandelion Revolution

Written by Semaj Brown

Today I stand while word processing these poetry confessions, dandelion tea steeping on a petite table to the right. Standing inserts more exercise into my stay-at-home routine. I would truly care to share a muffin, cookie or two, but considering the logistics, instead I offer a delight of another sort: The Poet Laureate’s, FirstPoetry CHILDREN’S Show will launch on Facebook Live as part of the  Poetry Pod Project at 6:30 p.m. June 29, hosted by the James E. Kennedy Family Life Center executive director, Raphael D. Read. I will be reading from the wonder-filled poetry books provided by the Genesee County Medical Society Alliance president, Joy Dawn Hardman. We are inviting all of Flint’s children, all children, and beautiful people near and far. Please join the fun.

Preparing for the CHILDREN’S Poetry Show, reading the humorous, sometimes serious poems, I reflected on my childhood, the summer I proudly proclaimed myself to be a Black Dandelion.

At age of four, I witnessed my first mow down. My twinkling ground stars were cut by a murderous lawn mower. Feeling the blade, I fell, curling like a snail; I grieved and cried. Why?

The following spring, the perennial promise prevailed. My sweet freedom fighting flowers had risen. The bees and I celebrated the return of the dandelions in a skirt of twirling, yellow bliss. The dandelion’s flowering bouffant mirrored my spiky little afro. Jagged edged “lion’s tooth” leaves (so named by the French), paid homage to my snag-a-tooth smile. They were my plant friends that I needed to protect. It seemed everyone was trying to cut them down, dig them up or poison. Always in danger, this was the bravest greenery that flourished just for me. They grew in spite of a society that favored a monochromatic landscape.

1965— Mr. BrotherMalcolm X was assassinated, big word for a pre-kindergartner. I was convinced he must have been a dandelion, Reverend King too, as well as the Johnson boy who lived one turn down the street, that way. The Johnson boy was shot by the police for daring to grow in a monochromatic landscape.

Training wheels off—Bike riding across insecure cement, I peddled the bumpy path, waving solidarity to each surviving sunburst noggin that partnered with earth to ornament lemon drop hope upon the lawns and souls of my working class neighbors.

HotJuly— “I am a proud weed!” Much to my Aunt Cheryl’s chagrin, I delivered this unexpected proclamation while standing in the pulpit on Youth Sunday, Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church. Infusing my well-rehearsed, well prepared speech about David and Goliath with my impromptudandelion dogma, I continued, “We are Black Dandelions who will NEVER be destroyed. We grow the power of goodness for generations into the future!” I yet remember the amused and mortified looks on the faces of the pious.

What happened next? Well, we may explore those tantalizing details in another column. I invite you to join me for a sip of  delicious dandelion tea. I would also love to read your dandelion poetry and receive your dandelion tales. Email:  1plflint@semajbrown.com.

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