In recognition of the 20th day of National Poetry Writing Month, which also happens to be my favorite holiday, 4/20, Happy 4/20 world!! For those who don’t know, 4/20 is an internationally recognized so-called Marijuana Day. It is the day that people celebrate the beauty of the blessed herb, ganja.
My love of 4/20 stems from one place, and that’s love. 4/20 is truly all about bringing people together for the sake of honoring the most uniting herb ever known to man, cannabis. Although, I’ve loved herb since my junior year in high school, I didn’t learn of the beautiful day celebrating it, until college. It was a powerful changing moment in my life, when I did.
As a Black girl, hailing from the projects of the Lower East Side, in the ever diverse New York City, to say my attendance at a predominantly White, private university was a culture shock, is a gross understatement. I’d experienced what I now consider to be mild/ facially neutral racism, while growing up in NYC. I’d never seen in your face, I don’t care, F*** Black people racism, until I went to Syracuse. It blew my little sheltered mind.
I’ll save my experiences with blatant and bold face racism for a later date. The point I make here is that my initial experiences with racism during my freshman year of college, were beyond jarring to say the least. Hence, the power of my first experience celebrating 4/20.
Here I was, at a ‘White as White’ university, where most students who weren’t Black, feared even walking too close to me, wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into. And then 4/20 comes. And for the first time in my entire year at that school, all of the hate went away. The judgments and false prejudices fell to the side. For that one day a year, every student came together with love and hugs. Literally!
It was perhaps more powerful than the racism and hate itself. To think, that a herb that seemed so minor, though great, could be so powerful, was beyond my realm of understanding. For the rest of my tenure at SU, I always participated in 4/20 activities with a more conscious and in tune comprehension of what was really happening around me. People weren’t White and Black anymore. No more poor and rich kid complexes.
No more, you’re not like me, so get away from me energies. For that one day a year (minus MayFest, which is another story with similar affections), we were all just human beings, smoking spliffs, bongs and pipes and loving ourselves and the world. It was literally like all of those Hippie films we watched as children, where everything is just peace, love and happiness. Unreal. So damn unreal. And powerful as ever!
Since leaving SU, I have yet to encounter the same festivities on 4/20, as grown people with jobs, responsibilities and lives, rarely find time for such mind soothing activities. Nonetheless, I never forgot the power of the herb and the perpetual love it promotes every year, on that one blessed day. I also, never forgot to consider just why the government and powers that be, would be so against it.
Anywho, I’m not really sure what any of that has to do with the poem I wrote for today’s celebration of NaPoWriMo. I suppose in loving honor of today’s holiday, I’m feeling quite motivational on this Monday. I’m feeling like I can conquer all things, as does the power of herb. It conquers hate and separation. It conquers ignorance and defamation. It conquers disease and pain.
It literally conquers all. As do I. That’s why I continue to ‘Push.’ Because I am beyond determined to conquer all. I hope all of you are feeling the push to be better, wiser and kinder. You just gotta keep pushing. That’s what I’m doing and so far, it looks like it’s working. How about you?
I push past it
Walls and doors
Fences and gates
Windows and bars
People and powers
Posing in my way
Blocking my path
Obstacles of force
Purposed to stop me
I push past it
Keep it moving
Never slowing down
Can’t stop it
‘Cause you didn’t start it
I push past it
The lies and failed tries
I push past it all
Keep it pushin’
Toward to the gates of Heaven
That’s what I do