Dreams Can Set You Free (Ode To Harlem*)

By Feras M.

What happens to a dream disturbed?

A dream stolen?

a dream confiscated, trashed and torn?

They say dreams can set you free..

but Trayvon Martin had dreams and Michael Brown had dreams. .

Amer Abdelrahim Snober had dreams, Mohammad Abu Khdeir had dreams…

These children had dreams that were unfulfilled
left to dry up like a raisin in the sun.

How dare they? What audacity?
To think they can live in a world where they can travel as they please
dress as they please
and enjoy the same rights as others.

How dare they? What audacity?
To think they can be accepted regardless of their skin tone
their zip code
and structure of their chin and nose bone.

Maybe they’re unlucky.
Or maybe there’s something left uncovered.

Yet, instead of dreaming,
children’s thoughts are occupied.
by violence
by checkpoints
traffic stops
and gun fire.

It’s not a glitch in the system.
It’s not just “One bad apple”
It’s by design.

Whether it’s apartheid, occupation, Jim Crow, or the New Jim Crow,
Everything is working just fine.

So what happens to a dream that’s disturbed?

A dream stolen
a dream confiscated
trashed
torn?

Does it fight back or run
Or does it just dry up like a raisin in the sun?


*Partly inspired by: “Harlem” by Langston Hughes


Feras M. is a proud Muslim and Palestinian American. He is a thinker, introvert, educator, who enjoys learning about and exploring new ideas and cultures. He is currently a district/school leader in the Chicago area, guiding and training bilingual teachers as they work with English Language Students.

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